Saturday, January 09, 2010

Avoid the profane chatter and absurdities of so-called “knowledge.” By professing it, some have strayed from the faith

So Paul advised Timothy (1 Tim 6:20-21)noting that believing in trying to win and retain converts through "knowledge" (gr, 'gnosis'), you run a risk of losing them to those arguments. That is because Paul recognizes the basis of belief is a relationship to the Spirit:
12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:12-14
Paul is not saying we should not seek for knowledge. Indeed, he and Peter both admonish us to add knowledge to faith (2 Cor 8:7; 2 Pet 1:5).

Anti-Mormons routinely assail the faith of Latter-day Saints, mocking the very real yet personal revelation of the truth of the restoration by the Spirit. But the Bible is clear that such experiential "knowledge" is real though not discerned by the world, and therefore neither objective nor rational, but rather subjective and irrational.

A stumbling block to traditional Christians, foolishness to secular Anti-Mormons.

A recent comment on this blog by an anonymous commentator stressed how Christians have science and facts on their side, and have no need to rely upon the Spirit to discern truth. Such is not faith, nor is it even a part of Christianity. It is the pride of man to believe they can "know" what is true through study. Worse, this type of rationalism is precisely why the formerly "Christian" nations of Europe have now "converted" to various forms of existentialism, mysticism and self-awareness.

For the "Wisdom of God is foolishness". Interestingly, Paul's use of the word "Foolishness" is derived from the Greek word "musterion", normally translated as "mystery", meaning something which is revealed to those initiated into a system of thinking. In Paul's writings, mysteries are things which are delivered by the Spirit or Church leaders to new members. "Wisdom" of man is that which is only discerned by rational deduction by men, and has no connection to divine inspiration. Thus we see many of the great scholars in Biblical studies either losing their faith (such as Bart Ehrman or William Dever), or being attacked by fellow-Christians for acknowledging the problems in the traditional interpretation of Biblical doctrine, such as the false doctrines around the inerrancy of scripture, the supposed monotheism of Biblical teachings, or the lack of archeological support for almost everything in the first 6 books of the Old Testament.

I believe the Bible is true on its own merits, and not on any imposed temporary rational observations which are more sacred to their defenders than the communication between God and man the Bible illustrates.

So I am happy to declare my beliefs to be completely foolish, irrational and subjective. Exactly in the Biblical model.

121 comments:

Anonymous said...

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

Anonymous said...

"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

It depends on what kind of faith you are talking about and where you place that faith.

Anonymous said...

"A recent comment on this blog by an anonymous commentator stressed how Christians have science and facts on their side, and have no need to rely upon the Spirit to discern truth. Such is not faith, nor is it even a part of Christianity. It is the pride of man to believe they can "know" what is true through study. Worse, this type of rationalism is precisely why the formerly "Christian" nations of Europe have now "converted" to various forms of existentialism, mysticism and self-awareness."

Bob, I find your reasoning to be inherently flawed and I will tell you why. You are mixing up two different types of knowledge. One type is factual knowledge, knowledge of our external world (type #1) - knowledge that we can see, hear, feel, touch, taste. For example, if I say the sky is blue. This is a true statement. It is an observable fact.

The other form of knowledge lies in the area of ethics or spirituality (internal knowledge, type #2). Like for instance, if I say, God exists. This is something we "know" through a spiritual witness. Another example would be if I said, murder is wrong. This is another true statement we "know" through the Spirit.

You cannot prove spiritual things with logic and reasoning and scientific evidence. Truman Madsen warns us of that in his lectures when he is criticizing the philosophers for trying to use reason and logic and science to prove the existence of God. You cannot do it. It is totally in a different realm altogether.

Likewise, you cannot prove claims regarding the external world by using a spiritual witness. It is the same type of fallacy. For example, if I say, the sky is green - it doesn't matter how much I pray to the Holy Spirit, the sky will never be green. Likewise if I make the statement that there was a migration of Israelites to the Americas in ancient times (BoM times) and then DNA testing shows that this is not true, then it doesn't matter how much I pray about it, the original claim will never be true. And if I claim that there were horses in the Americas in ancient times (BoM times), and the evidence shows that that is not true then the same principle applies.

Christians are justified when they say that their faith is founded on knowledge (external knowledge or factual knowledge, type #1). They have a claim to a more sound religious foundation than Mormons do. It has been shown by scholars and scientists (both Mormon and Non Mormon) over and over again. They know (as a fact, type #1) where Jericho, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem are for example and that they existed in Christ's time. They know that Christ was a real man who lived. They know that he was tried by Pilate and was crucified. They know that the things he said came true later on after he died - the destruction of the temple, the ruin of Bethseda, Chorazin, and Capernaum, etc. They know that there were OT prophecies, that were written long before he was born, speaking of his coming as the Prince of Peace. These are all facts (external knowledge) that have solid scientific evidence to support them.

They do believe (type #2), or in other words, have a spiritual witness of the things that can't be proven through scientific means. These are things like, for example, that Christ was the Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that he was resurrected. A Christian will say that they believe these things. You will never hear a Christian say that they "know" these things like Mormons say they "know" spiritual things because Christians can distinguish between factual knowledge and spiritual knowledge. And when you start mixing the two and are unable to tell the difference, it becomes a big problem.

In conclusion, the commenters on your blog are spot on when they say that their faith is founded on something more solid than that of a Mormon's faith. They say that because it is.

Anonymous said...

Here is another point to think about regarding the Christian claim. Whenever something truly comes from God, science always supports it. God gave us our mental faculties for a reason, that we should study these things out. Also, if something truly comes from God, you will never have to lie about it.

Tony said...

I loved it Bob, and I think Anon is missing your point.

I mean, we will always have some need for faith as Christians. You can't prove the resurrection was an actual occurrence other than by proposing that it was and citing the witnesses of it. Still doesn't make it true.

No matter what, a true knowledge of God needs to be founded on the Spirit, while reason and truth will support that. The apostles knew that Christ was the Son of God through spiritual means, and not through external knowledge per se.

Just look at the example in Luke with Simon Peter.

"For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in Heaven." Doesn't get any clearer than that.

If I can not know God through both external and spiritual means in the end, then I can not personally bring myself to be a Christian and still believe in the Bible where it says that to know God and Christ is life eternal. That is where I stand, and I am not ashamed in stating that we all can come to know of spiritual truth.

Nathan said...

"No matter what, a true knowledge of God needs to be founded on the Spirit, while reason and truth will support that."

Tony, that is exactly what Anon said. You both are saying the same thing.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

People are highly subjective in what they will allow as a valid point of reference for other people. For example, in my opinion, literally every assertion about "Type #1 Knowledge" in the context of religious faith is flawed. That is because all people are ultimately selective and subjective, based on their experience and personal judgment, about what constitutes a "sound religious foundation".

I hate to keep reminding folks, but there is at least as much evidence Against the historicity of the Bible as can be construed to be for it. No respected scientist believes the entire world was swallowed up in a flood, or was created in six days, let alone the Earth was created before the sun and the stars. The overwhelming weight of the scientific community finds no support for the Biblical account of the conquest of Jericho or Ai. There is no proof of the resurrection or of the virginity of Mary. And as I have pointed out repeatedly, the current supported archaeological view is that Hebrews were henotheistic in their beliefs concerning deity, and the current Jewish and Christian monotheism/Trinitarianism is not a reflection of the earliest beliefs of either group of believers.

So while Anon cites some perception of DNA contradicting the teachings of the Book of Mormon, (a position anti-Mormon geneticist Simon Southerton, one of the original supposed authorities on the subject, himself now rejects as being impossible to prove, and instead contends it was the commonly held explanation of members of the meaning of the BoM, not a claim of the BoM itself), we are left to wonder why such speculation rises to the level of science for Anon, but the evidence, such as the discovery of Nahum or the extensive and peer reviewed, multi-denominational word-print studies proving the BoM to be the work of authors other than Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery or Solomon Spaulding, do not.

The reason seems obvious to me. To accept such as settled or significant evidence would force him to re-evaluate the conclusion he reached based on far less substantial support (I say that based on the types of evidence he offers when pressed). It would also force him to acknowledge that he "believes" the LDS Church is false, rather than being able to rationally prove such. He, like me, looks at history or evidence and weights it according to a personal criteria which includes, consciously or otherwise, opinions about the validity of spirituality, blind faith and a personal sense of the need or superfluousness of prophetic leadership for our day.

We know so much more about Joseph Smith than any other prophet in history. To the Egyptians, Moses was a murderer and a traitorous plunderer. To the Jews, Jesus was an apostate with, literally, a messiah complex. As Paul notes, Christianity is foolishness to the Greeks, or people of philosophical reason. So a guy who said God condemned all of the false traditions of Christianity, accused of theft and adulterous conduct with young women, and whose murder is still cheered and justified by his critics today is hardly a problem, if in fact God has spoken about the truthfulness of the message his prophets proclaim.

It is strange that critics of the LDS faith fail to note that the Church, and Joseph Smith in particular, routinely advised people to not believe what he said, but rather go home and get a witness of the truth of these things by the Spirit in the privacy of your own home. By contrast, Christian denominations routinely attempt to eliminate conversation about their contractions to scripture by responding to specific verses (such as the need for baptism for salvation in Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38) by attempting to assert it is only your ignorance of the larger body of scriptural support which makes it only APPEAR to contradict their doctrine. In other words, trust them, you just don't know all the verses like they do.

Anonymous said...

"And as I have pointed out repeatedly, the current supported archaeological view is that Hebrews were henotheistic in their beliefs concerning deity, and the current Jewish and Christian monotheism/Trinitarianism is not a reflection of the earliest beliefs of either group of believers."

The point of this statement is moot. And I would say that the majority of people who have an interest in this (Jews, Christians, scientists) would say that that is not the case. The Judeo Christian world has always been known as being monotheistic.



"He, like me, looks at history or evidence and weights it according to a personal criteria which includes, consciously or otherwise, opinions about the validity of spirituality, blind faith and a personal sense of the need or superfluousness of prophetic leadership for our day."

I would say no, unlike you, I, and many I know, have looked at the evidence and through logic and reason, have come to the conclusion that the claims made by Joseph Smith were false. When I initially started investigating the church, I wanted to know if it was true because if it was and God was trying to tell me something, I wanted to know about it. So I did a lot of digging and what I found told me that it wasn't, not based on my own bias or previous beliefs and experiences, but based on facts and evidence. If it had just been one thing, I could say that maybe that one thing I read was wrong but when Joseph Smith's claims are proven wrong on so many different levels (archaeology, linguistics, genetics, textual evidence, no documentary trail, Joseph's changing doctrine filled with contradictions, his changing stories, his changing first visions, being a convicted con man, using his "seer" stone in a hat to translate BoM, the problems with the BoA, his treasure hunting, his bizarre sexual practices, the Masonic influence, etc. etc. etc. and on and on and on), it becomes obvious that he was lying when you put it all together in one big picture.



"To the Jews, Jesus was an apostate with, literally, a messiah complex."

Everything Jesus said was right and it always came true (his factual claims). That has been shown. Also, unlike Joseph, he never lied, he never persecuted anyone, and he was never a sexual predator.



"It is strange that critics of the LDS faith fail to note that the Church, and Joseph Smith in particular, routinely advised people to not believe what he said, but rather go home and get a witness of the truth of these things by the Spirit in the privacy of your own home."

Bob, that is the same thing as saying that what he said was correct and true. This argument is circular. Not to mention the fact that every Mormon I have spoken to who, when asked the question, "But what if I pray about it and get the anwer no?", says to me, "But you will get the right answer and that will be yes."



"By contrast, Christian denominations routinely attempt to eliminate conversation about their contractions to scripture by responding to specific verses (such as the need for baptism for salvation in Mark 16:16 or Acts 2:38) by attempting to assert it is only your ignorance of the larger body of scriptural support which makes it only APPEAR to contradict their doctrine. In other words, trust them, you just don't know all the verses like they do."

This is totally wrong. Christians teach Bible doctrine according to what the Bible says and they are right. They don't read things into the text that aren't there like Mormons do (example Jesus words on marriage in Luke). The issue of baptism I noticed was spoken about on this blog and their arguments were correct. You cannot conclude that baptism is necessary for salvation by the Bible scriptures, only belief is. And again, that is using logic and reason in conjunction with prayer to figure that out and to understand the Word (using type #1 and #2 knowledge together).

Anonymous said...

"People are highly subjective in what they will allow as a valid point of reference for other people. For example, in my opinion, literally every assertion about "Type #1 Knowledge" in the context of religious faith is flawed."

"So while Anon cites some perception of DNA contradicting the teachings of the Book of Mormon, (a position anti-Mormon geneticist Simon Southerton, one of the original supposed authorities on the subject"

The DNA evidence was not only revealed by Simon Southerton but also by many different scientists from different backgrounds. And when you have all these people saying the same thing, I can't see how you can call that subjective or biased because of religion. None of them (not even Simon Southerton) started out trying to disprove, or prove, the BoM. It was just a consequence of the work they did. In fact Simon Southerton was a true believer until he discovered the truth.

Also, to claim that their work can be dismissed as subjective or biased, or that it is not valid for any reason, is also to say that every single court in the American justice system, that accepts DNA evidence as legitimate proof of a claim (and that's pretty much every court in America), is wrong in their judgment. If I had to decide who was right or wrong, I wouldn't say that our court system is wrong in their judgment. I would say that you are Bob.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anon,
The application of the DNA evidence came from Murphy and Southerton as applied to the BoM. Murphy is not an expert in the space, and his voice has basically shut up after he was confronted by a myriad of LDS scientists.

Likewise Southerton's claims came under withering attacks by LDS geneticists, at least one of whom is recognized as the preeminent forensic genetic scientist in the world, who has literally written the text books for the FBI's criminal labs. Southerton then modified his position from claiming the BoM genetic claims were disproven, to noting the commonly held beliefs about Native Americans held by LDS followers were demonstrably false.

Everyone agrees with his second premise. But it destroys supposed repudiation of the BoM he and Murphy were claiming. Furthermore, it rightly resulted in a modification by the Church itself of the claims in the preface to the BoM from the idea of the BoM people being the principal ancestors of the Native Americans, to being among the ancestors, a claim which is can be defended.

In any case, the supposed evidence against the BoM was really against the representations made by over zealous lay believers of the BoM, and just as excessive claims as to the impeccable nature of the text of the NT are overstated by all of the "Biblical Inerrantists", but can still be found believable among those with a technical understanding of Textual Criticism, so the BoM is left unharmed by the supposed DNA evidence, though the erroneous opinions of some of its followers have required modification.

Case closed! :-)

Anonymous said...

"Case closed! :-)"

Haha, I love it! Case closed. Hmmmm, somehow I don't think that's going to be the end of the story though.

Anonymous said...

"The application of the DNA evidence came from Murphy and Southerton as applied to the BoM."

Not quite, Bob. There are many other scientists (unrelated to any religious institution) whose work proves that the BoM migration never happened because Native Americans didn't come from Israel.

You can read about DNA and the American Indians here (there are many of them):

http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9101

http://www.psc.edu/science/Merri/merri.html

http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_Si/nmnh/origin.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetics_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

http://cita.chattanooga.org/mtdna.html

http://www.healthanddna.com/ancestry-dna-testing/native-american-dna.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080313-AP-native-amer.html


I could list many more but I think you get the picture. I would say that you are right that the case is closed but not in favor of the BoM.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the links.

Do to time constraints I was only able to check out one of your links http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080313-AP-native-amer.html

From the Nation Geographic Article:

"Perego and his colleagues traced the history of a particular kind of DNA that represents just a tiny fraction of the human genetic material and reflects only a piece of a person's ancestry".

Did you catch the line “represents just a tiny fraction” I think you should read your links before you post. It might save you from embarrassing moments like this.

Maddog

JediMormon said...

Humm...I think a vital point is being missed here: whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, and how one can easily find out. Apologies for bringing up such a mundane subject yet again, but the only sure way to find out is by applying the promise in Moroni--read the book and sincerely pray about it. Turing to science will not provide the answer to the question of the book's truth, but turning to God will. Science and/or archeology may provide some physical evidence (as FARMS claims is the case, a claim I endorse), but it will never provide the absolute knowledge of the truth of the Book of Mormon like the Holy Ghost can provide. And that comes only through study and prayer.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog, Bob, I love what you're doing here.

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Pretty funny how many commentators here have entirely missed the point of your "knowledge" posting, Bob.

JediMormon said...

Anonymous stated: Likewise, you cannot prove claims regarding the external world by using a spiritual witness. It is the same type of fallacy. For example, if I say, the sky is green - it doesn't matter how much I pray to the Holy Spirit, the sky will never be green.
JediMormon replies: You are putting the cart before the horse, so-to-speak, Anonymous. No one says “the Book of Mormon is true”, and then prays about it. That is not what Moroni promised. If the Book of Mormon was false, no amount of praying would change that. What Moroni promised was that whoever read the book, then prayed about it, would receive a witness from the Holy Ghost that it was true. It’s such a simple concept, and such a simple promise. The problem, especially with anti-Mormons, is that they put science or geology above God. They look for anything that supposedly proves the Book of Mormon to be false, then decide that there is no reason to pray about it—their supposed evidence has rendered a supplication to God unnecessary. Either that, or they take the “evidence” as a sign that God is telling them personally that the Book of Mormon is not true. Either way, they completely circumvent Moroni’s promise. Prayer was never meant to change fact, only to confirm the legitimacy of a fact to someone who doesn’t know if the supposed fact is true or not. In this case, they are praying for confirmation of the fact that the Book of Mormon is true.

Anonymous said...

"particular kind of DNA"

There are different kinds of DNA and if you look into all the research that has been done on it, you will find that the conclusions all point to the same thing. That NA DNA is not Hebrew.

Tony said...

Jee, that would actually effect me if it weren't for the fact that the Lehites weren't the only ones there, and they were a relatively small gene pool in comparison. Surely they've mixed and mixed. Not exactly an easy find.

Also, Lehites were not Jews. They wer of the tribe of Manasseh, and married into Ishmael's family, the tribe of Ephraim. These tribes were carried away captive by the Assyrians, and did not contribute greatly to the current genetic mix of the Middle East.

Furthermore, the Middle East is located at the crossroads of three continents, and has seen a great deal of immigration, mixing, and intermarriage. To use modern Middle Eastern DNA as the "standard" against which to measure what Manasseh and Ephraim DNA must have been like 2600 years ago is extraordinarily sloppy science.

bunker said...

Nicely put Tony.

Anonymous said...

So had these missionaries stop by yesterday. The said that Mormo's believe that God or Jesus's church has been re-established his church here on earth. I dont understand that statement.

Anonymous said...

Answer these... you can't.

Question # 1
True or False? In the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon the hill Cumorah was spelled Camorah? Answer? TRUE

Why is this significant? There were maps printed and available in Joseph Smith’s day that showed a chain of islands called the Camaros Islands and guess what the capital city of the Camaros Islands was called . . .Moroni!

Question #2
What two things do the following words have in common? Alpha, Angola, Antipas, Antipus, Archeantus, Ezias, Jonas, Judea, Omega, Timothy, and Zenos?

First, they are ALL found in the Book of Mormon, Second, they are all Greek names, which chronologically should not and could not be in the Book of Mormon if it was legit. Having Greek names in the Book of Mormon would be like Moses including a Brittany Spears song in Genesis. Highly improbable.

Question #3
Are the twelve apostles in the Book of Mormon similar to the twelve apostles in the Bible? Answer: Yes. How?

There were three pairs of New Testament Apostles who shared the same name:
Simon Peter and Simon the Canaanite.
James the son of Alpheus and James the son of Zebedee.
And Judas the brother of James and Judas Iscariot, the betrayer.

Well, guess what? In the Book of Mormon we have the same situation among the “apostles:”
Jonas and Jonas
Mathoni and Mathoniha and . . .
Kumen and Kumenonhi

A coincidence? A divine pattern? Or just one more evidence of plagiarism?

Question #4:
What significance could these actual geographical locations - which were all located within 200 miles of Joseph Smith’s home - play in the construction
of the Book of Mormon?

Lehigh Valley, PA
Oneida, NY
Angolah, NY
Morgantown, PA
Jacobsburg, PA
Alma, Quebec
Shilohi, OH
Kiskiminitas River, OH
Morin, Quebec
Sherbrooke, Quebec
Tecumseh, Quebec
Ripley, Maine

The significance is in their similarity to people and places identified in the Book
of Mormon itself.

Lehi
Onidah
Angola
Morianton
Jacobugath
Alma
Shilom
Kishkumen
Moron
Shurr
Teacum
Ripliancum

David said...

"Answer these... you can't."

You're right Anon. I saw these comments on Shawn's show too. You are both right.

The Book of Mormon is littered with plagiarisms. In an earlier version, there is a passage in Nephi that read, "From whence no traveler returns." (It now reads "from whence no one returns") Interesting that an ancient Book of Mormon prophet is quoting Shakespeare! So ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

How did Joseph Smith carry home the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, and how did the witnesses lift them so easily? (They weighed about 230 lbs. Gold, with a density of 19.3 weighs 1204.7 lbs. per cubic foot. The plates were 7" x 8" by about 6". See Articles of Faith, by Talmage, page 262, 34th ed.)

Tony said...

Huh. Anon, that's perhaps one of the better arguments I've heard, though it still leaves unexplained all the Hebraisms (hebrew lingustic structures, names, and culture) that are found in the Book of Mormon.

As for the whole Greek thing, could it be that that is how it was translated? Alma has actually been shown to be a Hebrew male's name.

Tony said...

Oh, and its teancum, not teacum. There are still plenty of other names that can't be answered by that. Also, if I were to find similar names in another text, would that prove that such was a fraud? It is an interesting correlation, no doubt, but it does not prove causation. How do we know he didn't just get Moron from what all those critics called him and his followers? LOL. Jk.

Lehi is found in the Bible. So you might as well argue he got it there too.

Tony said...

As for your camoros Island question:
http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Plagiarism_accusations/Comoros_Islands_and_Moroni

It's an appeal to probability.

"There is no evidence that Joseph saw these maps, or any other, but if he had they would have provided little help."

"Furthermore, it is unlikely that any source would have contained the name of "Moroni." That settlement did not become the capital city until 1876 (32 years after Joseph's death and 47 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon), when Sultan Sa'id Ali settled there. At that time it was only a small settlement. Even a century later, in 1958, its population was only 6500."

Tony said...

About the names:
http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Anachronisms/Names

Lachoneus: "The occurrence of the names Timothy and Lachoneus in the Book of Mormon is strictly in order, however odd it may seem at first glance. Since the fourteenth century B.C. at latest, Syria and Palestine had been in constant contact with the Aegean world, and since the middle of the seventh century Greek mercenaries and merchants, closely bound to Egyptian interests (the best Egyptian mercenaries were Greeks), swarmed throughout the Near East. Lehi's people...could not have avoided considerable contact with these people in Egypt and especially in Sidon, which Greek poets even in that day were celebrating as the great world center of trade. It is interesting to note in passing that Timothy is an Ionian name, since the Greeks in Palestine were Ionians (hence the Hebrew name for Greeks: "Sons of Javanim"), and—since "Lachoneus" means "a Laconian"—that the oldest Greek traders were Laconians, who had colonies in Cyprus (BM Akish) and of course traded with Palestine"

Timothy: "[R]emember...that in Lehi's day Palestine was swarming with Greeks, important Greeks. Remember, it was Egyptian territory [prior to being seized by Babylon] at that time and Egyptian culture. The Egyptian army, Necho's army, was almost entirely Greek mercenaries. We have inscriptions from that very time up the Nile at Aswan-inscriptions from the mercenaries of the Egyptian army, and they're all in Greek. So Greek was very common, and especially the name Timotheus"

Shilum:

"Alma 11:5-15 describes various monetary units which the Nephites used at one point in their history. Alma 11:16 in our current edition of the Book of Mormon states that one of these units was a "shiblum." However, both the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon and the Printer's manuscript indicate that this originally read "shilum." Significantly, Shilum is a perfectly good Hebrew word. It literally means "retribution...a fee: recompense, reward." That makes sense in a monetary context doesn't it?"

The other place names:
http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Plagiarism_accusations/Place_names_from_North_America/Holley_map

David said...

"Huh. Anon, that's perhaps one of the better arguments I've heard, though it still leaves unexplained all the Hebraisms (hebrew lingustic structures, names, and culture) that are found in the Book of Mormon."

The explanation is that Joseph Smith was a student of Greek and Hebrew. He was not uneducated as the LDS like to claim. He was well studied.


"As for the whole Greek thing, could it be that that is how it was translated? Alma has actually been shown to be a Hebrew male's name."

And this proves ... what exactly? Answer: nothing. Alma is also of Arabic, Latin and Italian origin. You'll discover this if you do a little etymological research.

David said...

"Oh, and its teancum, not teacum. There are still plenty of other names that can't be answered by that. Also, if I were to find similar names in another text, would that prove that such was a fraud? It is an interesting correlation, no doubt, but it does not prove causation."

The problem is that there are so many other names, similarities, events, etc. in the Book of Mormon that can be found in other areas - the Bible, the View of the Hebrews, the Spalding Manuscript, etc. Joseph Smith was a great synthesizer IMHO but I don't think he did it alone. I think his friends helped him.


"How do we know he didn't just get Moron from what all those critics called him and his followers? LOL. Jk."

The word "moron" as we know it today was not used in his time. It came into use in the 20th century. The origin of the word (moros) is Greek though and it means 'foolish'.


"Lehi is found in the Bible. So you might as well argue he got it there too."

Well, yeah, he plagiarized a lot of things from the Bible.

David said...

"As for your camoros Island question:
http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Plagiarism_accusations/Comoros_Islands_and_Moroni

It's an appeal to probability.

"There is no evidence that Joseph saw these maps, or any other, but if he had they would have provided little help.""


This may or may not be true but if it is, it doesn't mean that he didn't use them or didn't know about these places through word of mouth. It's funny when LDS say "there is no evidence for that." There is also no evidence that the golden plates really existed, except for maybe the claims of a bunch of people who were either related to Joseph Smith or were close friends with him - at the time (interesting that they later turned on him and recanted). Anyhow, the plates are not here anymore are they? The Angel took them. Also, there's no evidence that the Book of Abraham is a correct translation from the papyrus scrolls the Church has in their possession today, quite the contrary actually, ... or is it that those aren't the true scrolls? Did the real ones go missing? Did the Angel take them too? How convenient! So the real ones are the scrolls that happened to be buried with an Egyptian priest (the mummy) and his funerary text that has nothing to do with Abraham or his descendants or any strange and twisted creation story? Is that correct?

This stuff is nonsense, Tony.

David said...

""Furthermore, it is unlikely that any source would have contained the name of "Moroni." That settlement did not become the capital city until 1876 (32 years after Joseph's death and 47 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon), when Sultan Sa'id Ali settled there. At that time it was only a small settlement. Even a century later, in 1958, its population was only 6500.""


Moroni was founded by Arabic settlers in the 10th century. The word Moroni is Arabic and was used on the island to describe the volcano long before Moroni became the capitol. It translates to "in the heart of the fire." This is very cloe to “a burning in the heart” by the Holy Ghost and Moroni's promise (from the nephiproject):

"There is probably no prophet who is associated with the power of the Holy Ghost more than Moroni. It was he who besought mankind to pray with all “energy of heart” (Moroni 7:48)."

Also the Arabic word Comoro means "the moon" and the Comoros islands are so named because of the shape of its hills, hence, the Hill Comora in New York. Another interesting coincidence is that the Nephites measured time in “moons” (Omni 29). (nephiproject)

Could Lehi and his people have visited the island on the way to America? Not likely, not to mention the fact that the island was uninhabited during his time. The best explanation is that Joseph Smith and his friends lifted the name of the islands and the word for "in the heart of the fire" in order to use in the famous tale that they wrote called the Book of Mormon. Is the BoM a great and artistic piece of religious fiction? Yes. Is it a true historical record? No.

Tony said...

All of the witnesses of the plates who held them testified that they were about 60 lbs, actually.

Also, View of the Hebrews, spaulding, etc. have already shown to have more "unparallels," and the Spaulding theory has been debunked.

That, and he did NOT have any knowledge of Hebrew or any other language until much after the book was published. So that already cuts off many of your arguments of plagiarism.

As for the whole thing with the Camaros islands, apparently you didn't go to the actual link.
It is unlikely that any source would have contained the name of "Moroni." That settlement did not become the capital city until 1876 (32 years after Joseph's death and 47 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon), when Sultan Sa'id Ali settled there. At that time it was only a small settlement. Even a century later, in 1958, its population was only 6500.

Highly improbable for him to hear about it, even by word of mouth.

Tony said...

Also, quite a bit of the original papyri were burned in a fire, so no, an angel did not take them. Also, why is it then even the top scholars don't agree amongst themselves on what they really mean?

No truly vile man (as Joseph's critics paint him out to be) would write such a profoundly spiritual book, one that enticed people to do good and shun evil, to combat secularism, to love family and love God.

There is plenty of evidence for antiquity of the record for those who would actually look. Chiasmus, cognitive accustive, if-and clauses, Lachish letters, Dead Sea Scrolls, oath-taking, and other such Hebraisms that are conveniently ignored by critics.

No 19th century english man with no prior knowledge of Hebrew language structure would be able to write such a book, never mind have the record maintain consistency and have each author of each book in it have a distinct voice(tone, style,etc.). Remember that you have a third-grade education, no less.

You try pulling that off in 60 days, having it contain 522 pages with over 150 words per page and over 300,000 from start to finish, containing 239 chapters, 54 dealing with wars, 21 with historical accounts, 55 on visions and prophecies, 71 on doctrine, and 21 on Jesus Christ, all dictated to a scribe while never going back to or having the text read aloud to you. That, and you must have all the witnesses of that record never recant on its reality even after having some of them become disaffected with you for a while. You must go to your death for the record, and never stop testifying that it is holy scripture, even to the guards who keep you in jail, when you easily could just recant and save your own life. You never get any true worldly value from this record.

Do that, and then get back to me.

Anonymous said...

Excellent display of LDS misdirection. Was any of the Moron Quad translated into Greek first? No. Were they translated from Greek? No. I would agree there is no direct link or evidence to support the false prophet ever looked at the maps. But, there is proof that the possibility does exist that the information I presented is correct. Couple that with all the other evidence that has been presented and a very concise conclusion can be drawn. Mormon doctrine is corrupt, polluted, false and an abomination to everything Christian. Joseph Smith and every "Prophet" since is leading you all headlong down the path to the gates of hell. Come out of her.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

FYI, Anonymous, I will not publish any additional comments if you use disrespectful language again. Name calling is not exactly a great display of Christianity.

As for the direction this conversation is going, I find this really head toward a discussion of "Young Joseph Smith: The Cambridge Years". We now find Joseph an expert at now just Hebrew and Egyptian, but he is an expert cartographer with a working knowledge of metallurgy and Arabic. Probabilistic arguments are valid Pro and Con toward Joseph Smith. The problem is that when so many probabilities are tallied, the argument goes to the absurd. Even IF JS had access to the maps, the correct contextual usage of the names in obscure languages is impossible to account for. If that is not enough, how did he correctly identify the correct look and weight of material for the plates which is native to Central America? Tumbaga is native to Central America, would have weighed 30-60 pounds, per the testimony of the witnesses; would have had a gold appearance, per the statements of all witnesses; is a gold and copper alloy, per William Smith's late 19th century statement about the composition of the plates, and that at a time before knowledge of the existence of tumbaga existed in the USA.

No, mocking the "coincidences", ignoring the statements of the witnesses, and denigrating the personal spiritual witness of millions of Mormons is not serious interaction.

Last point, JS taught the doctrine of God being married. He asserted it was the historical reality of both the Hebrew and Christian faith. Turns out that was true. The evidence for it being true was not forthcoming for more than 100 years after the BoM was published, D&C 76 and 132 were revealed. Another coincidence and lucky guess by the forward looking JS?

I don't expect everyone to become a Mormon, even if they are open minded and harbor no ill will toward Mormonism. But I find the kinds of issues which are endlessly presented by critics to be intellectually inadequate to sustain the points of view expressed. The antagonists, when their arguments are responded to, don't get into the details and go deeper, but then spin off. This sort of rationalism shows the weakness of their positions. And they just are unwilling to give the same break to the LDS faith they demand for their own.

In the end, faith is the best place for the faithful to live, even as we strive to learn and seek learning from the best books.

David said...

"You try pulling that off in 60 days, having it contain 522 pages ... Do that, and then get back to me."

Ooh, good challenge Tony! Yes, I know about the Nibley challenge - according to Truman Madsen, it's what Nibley told his students to do in one semester at BYU and no one has done it yet. What they don't tell you is that Joseph Smith had a period of about 6 years to write the BoM. And yes, he could have done it, easily. Many authors have written more complex and even more realistic fictional tales than Joseph did and in a shorter period of time. And if you honestly believe that Joseph had no prior knowledge of Hebrew and Greek before writing the BoM, then you are a bigger fool than I thought. This is just another example of the LDS not knowing true church history ... either that, or denying it.


"all dictated to a scribe while never going back to or having the text read aloud to you."

This is exactly why he couldn't recreate the first 116 pages that were lost - because he never had plates to begin with. He dictated the story to a scribe while looking at a seer stone, that he found while digging well with his brother, in a hat. Oh yes, very prophetic!


"Also, why is it then even the top scholars don't agree amongst themselves on what they really mean?"

Where'd you get that one? They do agree, unanimously, that they are funerary texts of an Egyptian priest named Horace.


"Also, quite a bit of the original papyri were burned in a fire, so no, an angel did not take them."

The papyri that match the facsimiles in the BOA, that are matched to the text in the BoA, through Joseph Smiths notes that have been examined, are all in the church's possession today. There is no paragraph or line in the BoA that isn't accounted for in those facsimiles because he matched whole paragraphs to single characters that were on the papyri. This has been shown by an analysis of Joseph's notes.


"No truly vile man (as Joseph's critics paint him out to be) would write such a profoundly spiritual book, one that enticed people to do good and shun evil, to combat secularism, to love family and love God."

What about all the other things tha the wrote in the D&C and other texts that are vile, unbiblical, and totally contradict things that he wrote in the BoM. The BoM is profoundly spiritual because it is profoundly plagiarized.


"Also, View of the Hebrews, spaulding, etc. have already shown to have more "unparallels," and the Spaulding theory has been debunked."

That doesn't mean that he didn't pull ideas from these books to put in the BoM. This statement doesn't prove anything. Sorry!


"Highly improbable for him to hear about it [Comoros islands], even by word of mouth."

No, not improbable. It was totally possible, even likely, for him to hear about it actually since there were so many immigrants coming to America during those times - immigrants that could have either lived there, visited it, or heard about it.

boyd said...

In mormonism everyone goes to heaven ( 1 of 3). Than what is the point? In Christianity you go to Heaven (only 1) or to hell.

Walker said...

"had no prior knowledge of Hebrew and Greek before writing the BoM, then you are a bigger fool than I thought"

Documentation goes further than assertions and name calling.

"Oh yes, very prophetic!"

I don't see why having the ability to use a seer stone wouldn't count as prophetic.

"vile, unbiblical, and totally contradict things that he wrote in the BoM"

Once again, documentation goes further than assertions.

"That doesn't mean that he didn't pull ideas from these books to put in the BoM."

And it doesn't mean that he did pull ideas from the book. As you said, "This statement doesn't prove anything. Sorry!"

"Comoros islands"

As far as I'm concerned, the "Comoros Island" argument isn't much of an argument at all. "Look! 'Comoros' kind of looks like "Cumorah'! Joseph Smith stole it!" Really? It reminds me of those YouTube videos that try to connect President Obama with the Anti-Christ because the Hebrew sounds like Obama's name:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlQJ2neOG_I

Walker said...

"what is the point?"

A better question is what was the point of an all-powerful God creating the universe and mankind out of nothing, only to predestine some to a life of continual worship and praising of Himself and others to never-ending agony and torment?

Apparently, the all-powerful God got bored.

Tony said...

Thanks, Walker :D

And I agree, I'd like some actual documentation if you are just going to dismiss me as a fool without actually engaging my arguments fully.

There are still the Hebraisms.

JediMormon said...

All this scrambling around finding and quoting physical evidence that supposedly proves the Book of Mormon false, always fails and will always continue to fail. The problem with anti's use of physical "evidence" as their primary weapon against LDS beliefs is that the anti's are stumbling around in the wrong forest. "See, this tree here proves the BofM false, and this one here proves that Joseph was a false prophet, and this tree here proves..." and so on. Anti-Mormon tactics fail on a majority of LDS members, and here's why: no amount of "evidence" from anti-Mormons can dent the testimony of a Latter-day Saint who has received a witness from the Holy Ghost--through study, fasting, and prayer--that the Book of Mormon is indeed true, Joseph was indeed a prophet of God, and that the Savior has restored His church to the earth in the latter days. A testimony is a very personal thing, and comes to folks in different ways. But for those who are honestly seeking the truth with an open heart and humble spirit, it DOES come. If you read the Book of Mormon with the intent of finding fault, and remain rock solid in your determination to pursue that course, you will never be shown the truth. You confine yourself to occasionally stumbling over it, but because of your hardness, manage to pick yourself up and carry right on down the same path you were walking before. The problem is, it's a path that will never arrive at a destination. How can it, when it does nothing but go around in circles?

JediMormon said...

Quoting Anonymous: ...every Mormon I have spoken to who, when asked the question, "But what if I pray about it and get the anwer no?", says to me, "But you will get the right answer and that will be yes."

JediMormon: A couple of points here. First Anonymous, you have obviously not applied Moroni's promise, which is your business, of course. Your statement caught my eye because I've had dozens of anti-Mormons ask me the same thing: "But what if I pray about it and get a "no" as my answer?" Most of those then went on to claim having received a "no" for an answer. Upon further inquiry, however, I found that none of them had actually done what Moroni requested. Most of them claimed to have gone to the Bible and found something in it that supposedly proved the Book of Mormon false, and took that as a "no" answer. Others claimed to have prayed, got no answer, and decided that silence on God's part was a "no" on the Book of Mormon. Both approaches are flawed and will bring neither a "yes" or a "no" from God. In the case of going to the Bible for an answer about the truth of the Book of Mormon, Moroni's promise does not include the option of going to another book to learn the truth of the Book of Mormon. His admonition was to "ask God, in the name of Jesus Christ", and to ask "with real intent, nothing wavering"--in other words, sincere prayer. In the case of silence on God's part, no answer is NOT an answer. Not when applying Moroni's promise. If you pray with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of the Book of Mormon to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. Millions of LDS have tested that promise, and found it to be absolutely trustworthy. As far as the "you get a yes but what if I get a no" question, it's moot. If God tells one person that the Book of Mormon is true, He's certainly not going to tell another that the book is false. If it's true for one, it's true for all. That's why I've always maintained that once a person has received this promised witness from the Holy Ghost, any and all supposed physical "evidence" against the Book of Mormon is no longer of any consequence whatsoever.

Read, study, and pray sincerely about the Book of Mormon. Such a simple and easy thing to do, yet some folks would rather spend voluminous amounts of time and energy disproving what God has testified is true.

So sad.

David said...

"Once again, documentation goes further than assertions."

You can look at this webpage and study it for yourself (there are other sites I can send you if you want):

http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/contradictionsinldsscriptures.htm


"As far as I'm concerned, the "Comoros Island" argument isn't much of an argument at all. "Look! 'Comoros' kind of looks like "Cumorah'! Joseph Smith stole it!" Really? I"

The problem is Walker, that he did originally spell it Comora. I challenge you to read the original copy of the BoM (you can find a copy at the RLDS church), along with some of the original documents describing it. I think you may be surprised at what you find. Also, given the connection in the meaning of Moroni and Comoro, there is no way it is a coincidence.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David,
With all due respect, this comment is likely to offend you. You are a sucker for those whose materials agree with your prejudices. In this case, you apparently have believed the Tanner's and Huggin's garbage on the Comora, rather than looking it up yourself as you challenged Walker to do.

In the original BoM published edition, it is not Comora, it is Camorah. As you say, look it up. I have both an electronic version and an 1830 replica. But it doesn't end there, and this sort of illustrates the difference, I guess, between my desire for the truth and your prejudice against things Mormon.

I thought, I wonder whose handwriting Moroni 6 is written in? So I got a copy of the original 1829 printer's manuscript, which is readily available online. It appears the handwriting is Oliver Cowdery's. I will check with Royal Skousen's work to verify that, but I don't have it at home. Now, since we know Joseph Smith dictated the text, the spelling is apparently Oliver's.

But then, what about the statement that Joseph Smith would dictate spelling on proper names.

Guess what? The spelling Camorah has a line drawn through it, and CUMORAH is written above it.

Yup, if you are going to accuse Joseph of copying and stealing and all the other stuff you accuse him of, at least when there is real facts, maybe you could check them from a neutral source rather than your antagonistic source. Otherwise, candidly, this habit of trusting your feelings rather than truth is going to lead you to temporal ruin. That's what happens when you trust people who are demonstrably lying to you. Maybe you should donate some money to them, or buy a book. You have truly proven they sucked you in and you bought it all already.

Sorry for being catty, but brother don't be so sure of stuff you don't actually study and know.

The Tanner's imply that because an 1813 geography text by Morse was in common use, that JS got "Cumorah" from "Comora Islands". No mention of Moroni, spelling different, and most important, there is no evidence JS ever saw this book. None.

Tanner's quote Huggins, (who, btw, was my beginning Biblical Greek teacher when I took a refresher course in about 2006), and his evidence is even slimmer, as if that were possible. He notes the port of Johanna and two other port cities are mentioned in connection with numerous pirates in a well known text about pirates. Unfortunately you must read the foot note on page 17 of his Dialogue article to learn the Islands of Comoros is never mentioned, just the port names, with but one exception out of 58 occurrences. Further, he provides zero evidence that JS could have had access to the resource. Lastly, he implies that even though Moroni is never mentioned in this work, somehow the no mention of Moroni and one mention of Comoros constitutes proof that Joseph got Moroni and Cumorah from this source.

Sure he did. If you believe that, well, it says a lot.

Please stop believing people who lie to you.
Bob

David said...

"In the original BoM published edition, it is not Comora, it is Camorah."

It was spelled Comora, Bob. Later, it was changed. Also, the angel Moroni was originally Nephi and that was changed later on as well. But this is kind of a moot point and still doesn't prove anything either way. The connection in the meaning is the key and that shows me that it can't be a coincidence. You can believe what you like.


"Otherwise, candidly, this habit of trusting your feelings rather than truth is going to lead you to temporal ruin."

That's rich coming from a Mormon. Isn't that what your faith (and your entire worldview) is based on - the feelings that you get from a prayer? This supposed "witness of the truthfulness of the BoM by the Holy Ghost"? Or as Jedi put it in the comment just above:

"That's why I've always maintained that once a person has received this promised witness from the Holy Ghost, any and all supposed physical "evidence" against the Book of Mormon is no longer of any consequence whatsoever."

Not only is it absurd, it is arrogant and dishonest, especially in the face of solid evidence.

I'm sorry that you have such a prejudice against the Tanners but the fact of the matter is that they are right on most or all of the points they touch and the church has yet to discredit their book, Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? A book that brings up *major* problems with the religion as a whole.

David said...

Oops, I missed this one:

"I don't see why having the ability to use a seer stone wouldn't count as prophetic."

Here are the problems:

1) Why would God place the Urim and Thummim in with the gold plates if Joseph was just going to use a chocolate colored seer stone? Why would they even need to be there?

2) The seer stone that he used to translate the BoM from a hat, was one that he found while digging a well with his brother. It was the same stone that he used as a seeker for buried treasure - treasure that he never found. He was later convicted of fraud for it. We know this by court documents that were found. There are many books you can read on Mormon origins. I can name a couple for you if you would like to read them.

So, I'm sorry, using this seer stone to "translate" the BoM was not prophetic at all. It was fraud.

David said...

Here's another question for you Bob:

You take that original copy of the BoM, that you say you have, and compare it to the official BoM today. You will see both minor and major changes, deletions, additions, etc. This doesn't bother you? If Joseph Smith was translating the BoM from a seer stone in a hat, character by character, as divinely revealed by God, then how come he missed all of those changes (and there are thousands of them)? If, according to God, those changes weren't supposed to be made, then why did the church make them?

I mean, this is absurd! Your belief in this book is insane. I'm sorry.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David,
I am holding a copy, an exact photographic replica of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. I am also looking at ALL instances of the word "Camorah" (which I just did an electronic 'cut and paste' to place it in quotation marks), and I just did an electronic search of "Comora", again electronically cut and pasted from your comments, and it has ZERO instances.

Interestingly, CARM, the anti-LDS organization, has a copy of the text or the original edition on their website, re-formatted to current chapter and verse divisions. They also list "Camorah" in Mormon 6:2, 6:4, 6:6, 6:11, 8:2, a total of nine instances. There are ZERO instances in their text of your spelling. You can look for yourself at:
http://www.carm.org/religious-movements/mormonism/mormon

What gives? Did the Mormons get to CARM and distort it?

My replica of the 1830 edition of the BoM is the Wilford Wood reproduction made from original uncut sheets of the BoM from the 1830 Palmyra printing. For the record, that is the 1st printing of the BoM.

However, the original manuscript IS extant for this section. By original, I mean the one dictated by JS to Oliver. It is in Oliver's hand. As Royal Skousen explained, Oliver had a habit of making his "u" look like an "a" at times. So you see the first "Camorah" has "Cumorah", in an unknown hand, written above it. Then the next "Cumorah" is written, drum roll please, as "Cumorah", just like we have it today. So, in 1829, JS, to use your attack, DID write it as Cumorah.

You can read Skousen's comments at http://rsc.byu.edu/JSRoyalSkousenBookMormon.php . It is about 80% down the page where he discusses the Camorah vs. Cumorah. It is 8 paragraphs from the bottom.

David, you were wrong. Not even just a little bit wrong, complete, thorough, embarrassingly wrong.

So it is "rich" that a Mormon would warn you about plowing headlong into allowing your emotions to over rule your judgment. But, as you keep insisting you are right, here is a link to an actual photographic copy of the 1830 BoM online: http://www.inephi.com/
And here is the photo of the actual page with the current Mormon 6:2-11 on it, then Mormon 3:
http://www.inephi.com/529.htm

Now please, actually look for yourself. Save me having to further point out that you don't know what you are talking about on this subject. Stop me before I am forced to further humiliate you.

Now, man up, and admit you messed up. Not because I get any joy out of it, as I already know and have proved you are wrong. But because it would actually show you aren't out there just pointlessly sniping.

Lastly, I am not "prejudiced" against the Tanner's. I actually approached them like I do any source, searching to see how they handle history. They have dug their own graves. This is the typical case they "build". Absolutely no hard evidence. All assertions, and no substance. They could have told us if the text book from 1813 was used in the Palmyra area schools. They don't. Why? Because they cannot tie it to the schools or public library. We have the Manchester library inventory. Not there. We have dozens of affidavits of the Smith neighbors. No evidence there either. They quote Huggins, again another house of cards. Anyone can guess. There is just no value in it.

So I can take the direct evidence, and reach a logical and really uncontroversial conclusion, or I can take the Tanners', Huggin's and you, and really ignore Ochem's Razor for logic, and go your way.

No thanks. I guess in this case, knowledge is arrogance, since it turns your best pitch into a wiffle ball.

Nathan said...

Bob and David,

On the Comora/Camorah point, you are both right and you are both wrong. This debate is nothing new. It was spelled Camorah in the 1830 edition of the BoM, so Bob is right on that, but David is also right that Joseph Smith lifted the name, along with Moroni, from the Comoros Islands because in the 1800s, the island chain was spelled Camora. The fact that Joseph Smith got the names from these islands is what David was trying to point out.

Here, it's easy to spot. Just take a look at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumorah

"In the text of the Book of Mormon, "Cumorah" (originally Camorah,1830 edition) is ..."

Then, you scroll down and there is a picture of a map where the caption reads:

"Close-up of 1808 map of Africa with the small Comoros islands labeled "Camora" (near center, just below marked line of latitude)"


I think it is hilarious that Bob focuses on this one mistake that David made and yet totally ignores all of the other questions that he asked, that bring up serious issues with Mormonism and Joseph Smith. What's wrong Bob, can you not address these issues or answer his questions? Is this why you feel you have to prove him wrong on something that is so minor? Because you can't prove him wrong on anything else?

Hmmm, now who is throwing the wiffle ball?

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

The issue of changes to the BoM is interesting. It honestly was one of the areas of my own faith as a 19 year old that I had to "put on the shelf" for many years, and just accept on faith.

But that has changed. Not only are virtually every change contextually explainable in a reasonable way, but by comparison to the other books of scripture, specifically the Bible, there is no comparison.

The Bible contains some 400,000 variations among the 5700 or so manuscript fragments. This is more than 2 changes for each of the 181,253 words in the NT.

Out of those changes, very few are significant, in the sense of make it hard to know what was original. But a couple of hundred changes are not "knowable", and dozens are significant.

The differences between the Old Testament texts is also vast and at times significant. The Dead Sea Scrolls version of Isaiah, for example, has over 1,500 important enough variations that they are footnoted in "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible". That doesn't count spelling variations, these are WORD variations.

Or in Deut 32:7, we see a deliberate attempt at changing the doctrine around the plurality of divine beings in the changes, to reduce the impact of Jesus as the Messiah, and, as Margaret Barker describes, the Great Angel, Jehovah.

Out of the several thousand BoM changes, there are at most a small handful of changes which make any difference to the text. Maybe three or four sets of changes (white to pure, king's name changed, mother of the son of god). Everything else easily falls into textual clean-up and grammar issues, which, given the weakness of the linguistics of the translator, is very easy to accept. Especially if we are going to compare the BoM to the Bible. But pick some specific changes if you think they matter.

Thanks,
Bob

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Nathan,
I appreciate your comments, because they re-illustrate the "don't bother me with the facts" attitude so common in debate when it is about personal issues.

Nathan, you still don't provide any venue for how that 1808 map got to JS. How did he find it? Where is the reference to Moroni? Did you note that it is a "close up"? Did you actually try to read it? It looks more like "Cemora". As for spelling, I saw four different spellings, NONE of which were Cumorah.

So let's go through the logical issues:
1. No provenance to indicate JS had access to the maps.
2. No mention of Moroni on any of the maps.
3. The spelling is wrong.
4. The supposed identical spelling in the BoM is not present.
5. No one in Palmyra has any recollection of "Comoros" or anything like that being known to the locals. This is particularly telling, since had there been a map and lessons on the subject in school or the library, people would have been all over it. Read "Mormonism Unveiled", they comment on the supposed visits by Sidney Rigdon before he ever made it there. If there was any trace of Cumorah in locally available sources, it would have been there.
6. On Wikipedia, the name of the source of the zoomed-in map is not mentioned. Why? Because it was an Irish-centric publication called The General Gazetteer; or Compendious Geographical Dictionary. 8th Edition. 1808.

It has articles on many of the lands cited in the book. Guess which land has no entry? Yup, you guessed it. So let's couple this with Huggins' claim of how interesting Comorros was in connection with Capt. Kidd and pirates. Apparently so interesting that they don't mention Comorros. Johanna isn't listed either. And, oh yes, the book was almost exclusively circulated in Ireland. Now, genetically JS has some Irish in him, so maybe genetically he absorbed the map data at a distance of 3,000 miles. Is that your position? Maybe a little weak, but I have (literally) seen weaker from the critics. As Dan Peterson joked once, critics seem to want to promote a hidden life of Joseph Smith along the lines of "Joseph Smith: The Cambridge Years". If it were Oxford, or Cambridge, England, then you would have something there. Sure you would. Oh brother!

I hope this helps. I note that even trying to enter the fray as the voice of reason, Nathan still takes a position which is far less reasonable than the LDS position. And we believe in angels! That does not bode well for Nathan's position.

I would refer the questions on the seer stone, etc., to FAIRLDSWIKI.org .

Enjoy.

JediMormon said...

Okay...I'm adding my two cents on the supposed issue about the changes in the Book of Mormon over the years.
David said: (speaking to Bob) "I mean, this is absurd! Your belief in this book is insane. I'm sorry."

Jedi's reply: David, you are completely ignoring one very important thing. As a preamble, I don't know Bob, never met him and never talked to him. But I do know why his belief in the Book of Mormon is far from insane: it's because he has arrived at his belief in the Book of Mormon the same way millions of other LDS have: study, prayer, and a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. (I feel like I'm flogging the proverbial horse here where you anti's are concerned.) As I've said before on this site, and as you anti's have conveniently ignored every time with no attempt to address it, when, (not "if"), you follow the steps in Moroni, honestly and sincerely, you will receive a witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I don't know how to put it any clearer. All this nit-picking over changes in the book, supposed plagiarisms by Joseph Smith, or any of the dozens of other charges that have been leveled at the book over the decades, are all nothing more than chaff in the wind. Why? Because a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, renders any charges to the contrary, absolutely moot and of no consequence whatsoever. And until you and other antis find a way around the promise of Moroni, (besides just ignoring it as if it didn't exist), your arguments will continue to fail.

Nathan said...

"And, oh yes, the book was almost exclusively circulated in Ireland. Now, genetically JS has some Irish in him, so maybe genetically he absorbed the map data at a distance of 3,000 miles. Is that your position? Maybe a little weak, but I have (literally) seen weaker from the critics."

Bob, I think your reasoning is unsound. It's pretty obvious where Joseph Smith got the names Camorah and Moroni. And also, you cannot prove your 6 assertions or actually show that they disprove the idea that he lifted the names. Also, a couple of your assertions are completely wrong.

The eastern states, and Canada, during this time period were teeming with Irish immigrants (William Law being one of them although he didn't join the LDS until later). It's highly likely that Joseph Smith and his buddies had access to the material through the Irish people they knew. This can't be proven but it is very probable.

Also, your explanation of the changes to the BoM, and how that squares with the LDS claim that it is the most correct book on earth and divinely inspired, still doesn't address the problem that arises when you study the description (by David Whitmer) of how Joseph Smith translated it character by character. If God wanted it written this way, character by character, the church should have left it that way, but they didn't, and again, for obvious reasons.

Nathan said...

What I find amusing about the hill Cumorah is that when you couple your nonsensical arguments regarding its origin, with the fact that excavations done at the site have unearthed nothing to show that there were great battles there, or that the plates were actually found there, and that the geography doesn’t fit the description of the land in the story, then things begin to not look so good for “the most correct book on earth.” I love the irony here. It is no wonder the church will not excavate any further and prohibits anyone else from doing so. If they allowed it, it would just show everyone that Joseph Smith was wrong and that he was a fraud.

And I love the new LDS spin on it – the limited geography theory that says it all took place in Central or South America and that there are now two hill Cumorahs. This just keeps getting better and better! So, Joseph actually got the location wrong then even though the angel showed him where the plates were hidden on the hill Cumorah in New York? So, Mormon (and later Moroni) walked all the way up to New York from Central or South America to place them there? Is that right? Wow, that’s a long walk!

The LDS apologists really need to stop digging the hole deeper and making things worse for themselves by conjuring these crazy solutions to a problem that can’t be fixed. The church just needs to come out and admit that Joseph wrote a story and that the BoM is just that – a good Christian story that is fictional and has no basis in reality. Once they do that, I think things will go much more smoothly for you all.

Christine said...

It is not unlikely that Joseph Smith had heard of Moroni and the Comoro Islands since they were known to Americans as early as the seventeeth century and many whalers from New England had visited the islands in the early part of the nineteenth century. Their names were probably heard throughout the northeastern United States at the time Smith had his vision. They then could have become part of Smith's Book of Mormon.

He also knew of the stories of Captain Kidd:

P. Tucker (Vogel vol 3, pp. 93-94):

"Joseph ... had learned to read comprehensively ... [reading] works of fiction and records of criminality, such for instance as would be classed with the 'dime novels' of the present day. The stories of Stephen Buroughs and Captain Kidd, and the like, presented the highest charms for his expanding mental perceptions."

Pomeroy Tucker knew personal details about the Smiths while they lived in Palmyra--even Richard L. Anderson admits this (Vogel vol 3, p. 87).

Walker said...

The two "problems" that David has concerning the seer stones aren't really problems at all. Instead of explaining why seer stones is not an instrument for prophetic or revelatory use, he instead doesn't understand why Smith could have more stones than the Urim and Thummim. On top of this, he somehow determines it is not prophetic because Smith found one of the stones in a well (the case regarding Smith's "conviction of fraud" can also be found at FAIR).

You never actually addressed why using a seer stone could not be a genuine part of receiving revelation. Your argument sounds more so along the lines of "It sounds funny."

JD said...

"I appreciate your comments, because they re-illustrate the "don't bother me with the facts" attitude so common in debate ..."

Unbelievable! Bob, they are giving you the facts. You are just choosing to ignore them.


Many of your assertions above are totally wrong and can be shown to be so. Like this one:

"No one in Palmyra has any recollection of "Comoros" or anything like that being known to the locals."

The statement is completely false.


"As Dan Peterson joked once ..."

Dan Peterson? The notorious liar? Are you kidding me???


"I note that even trying to enter the fray as the voice of reason, Nathan still takes a position which is far less reasonable than the LDS position. And we believe in angels! That does not bode well for Nathan's position."

Nice try but again you are wrong. Sorry! The majority of the population agrees with Nathan. Anyone with any kind of sense, reading up on this subject, will be able to see exactly where Joseph Smith got his ideas.

even_more_anonymous said...

Nathan: "The eastern states, and Canada, during this time period were teeming with Irish immigrants (William Law being one of them although he didn't join the LDS until later). It's highly likely that Joseph Smith and his buddies had access to the material through the Irish people they knew. This can't be proven but it is very probable."

Well, Nathan, I guess you got it right, it can't be proven..... which is what Bob is saying. You can't base a belief on it's probability, you need to base it on truths. I mean, if that were the case, I'm sure there were French immigrants in the Eastern USA at the time of Joseph Smith, so maybe that's how he was able to design or read Egyptian symbols, because the French knew about the Rosetta Stone, which was discovered in 1799. So, it is probable.... The French taught Joseph Smith Egyptian. I mean, that is what you're saying, right?

JD: Many of your assertions above are totally wrong and can be shown to be so. Like this one:

"No one in Palmyra has any recollection of "Comoros" or anything like that being known to the locals."

So, JD, does that mean when Nathan, the one you see as all-knowing, all-powerful says "This can't be proven" that proves that Bob is wrong? Pretty strong assertion when your friend himself says it can't be proven.

I love too how they attack Bob for not answering any questions, and then when he does (concerning the changes in the BofM) they seem to forget what was said about the changes in the Bible, the only book needed to draw closer to God, and don't have much to say concerning it. So the question is sent out, what do you think about the changes in the Bible? What can you say to justify all the changes and different translations of that book?

David said...

"You never actually addressed why using a seer stone could not be a genuine part of receiving revelation. Your argument sounds more so along the lines of "It sounds funny.""

No, Walker, my argument basically was that, given the facts, it is totally absurd. I find you to be very intelligent actually and it amazes me that you believe this stuff ... but, to each his own.

David said...

"But I do know why his belief in the Book of Mormon is far from insane: it's because he has arrived at his belief in the Book of Mormon the same way millions of other LDS have: study, prayer, and a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true. (I feel like I'm flogging the proverbial horse here where you anti's are concerned.) As I've said before on this site, and as you anti's have conveniently ignored every time with no attempt to address it, when, (not "if"), you follow the steps in Moroni, honestly and sincerely, you will receive a witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon. I don't know how to put it any clearer. All this nit-picking over changes in the book, supposed plagiarisms by Joseph Smith, or any of the dozens of other charges that have been leveled at the book over the decades, are all nothing more than chaff in the wind. Why? Because a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, renders any charges to the contrary, absolutely moot and of no consequence whatsoever. "

Jedi, we haven't ignored your statement. You keep saying the same thing over and over again. I'm sorry but I don't buy it. I think that line of reasoning is dangerous - going on a feeling from a prayer to establish ultimate truth - with this, anyone could prove that anything is true and dupe you into doing things like lying (or even murdering) for the Lord.

It's just like Bob said:

"Otherwise, candidly, this habit of trusting your feelings rather than truth is going to lead you to temporal ruin."

JediMormon said...

Nathan said: "The church just needs to come out and admit that Joseph wrote a story and that the BoM is just that – a good Christian story that is fictional and has no basis in reality. Once they do that, I think things will go much more smoothly for you all."

JediMormon's response: Come out and admit what? If the church did so, that supposed admission would be the lie, and millions of LDS know it, including me. I will state again I have have at least a half-dozen times on here: When you have a personal witness from the Holy Ghost about the truth of the Book of Mormon--as have millions of LDS have--that's the end of the argument. The Holy Ghost is God's witness of the truth, and neither God nor the Holy Ghost can lie. Now, if anyone posting here can prove to me that there is a higher and more reliable source for the truth than the Holy Ghost, I'll eat a Book of Mormon. However, the more likely scenario is that no one will address my challenge. I suspect they don't know how to, because it is unaddressable.

Walker said...

"Dan Peterson? The notorious liar? Are you kidding me???"

Those who know him don't find him to be a notorious liar.

This is just one more reason why I don't take you people seriously.

Walker said...

"the limited geography theory that says it all took place in Central or South America and that there are now two hill Cumorahs."

Easier to call it spin than actually deal with the arguments. Joseph Smith actually was supportive of a Central American location towards the end of his life.

"Wow, that’s a long walk!"

It sure is. And?

"The LDS apologists really need to stop digging the hole deeper and making things worse for themselves by conjuring these crazy solutions to a problem that can’t be fixed."

Yeah, John Sorenson (who really mapped out the Central American location) really dug himself deep. So deep that he was recently asked to publish his findings on ancient Near Eastern and Mesoamerican connections by the University of Pennsylvania's Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. It is entitled "A Complex of Ritual and Ideology Shared by Mesoamerica and the Ancient Near East," Sino-Platonic Papers, No. 195 (Dec. 2009).

Walker said...

This is what the Comoros claim boils down to:

At best, Joseph Smith heard of it.

At worst, grasping at straws.

But to assert that Joseph Smith used it as the basis for Cumorah and Moroni with degree of certainty is absolutely fallacious.

Walker said...

"The majority of the population agrees with Nathan. Anyone with any kind of sense, reading up on this subject, will be able to see exactly where Joseph Smith got his ideas."

I'm rather interested in the explanation as to how a self-proclaimed prophet claimed revelation regarding a divine council and the existence of other deities as part of the restoration of Israel was able to get such a concept correct close to a century before the discovery of the Ugaritic texts and Dead Sea Scrolls.

The monolatrous religion Joseph Smith introduced fits rather nicely with early Israelite theology according to modern biblical scholarship.

Or perhaps all that scholarship is nothing but manure-like Ivy Leaguers...

Walker said...

"Their names were probably heard throughout the northeastern United States at the time Smith had his vision."

Possibly. But to consider it common knowledge that Smith could have drawn on is highly unlikely, especially considering that most people today still don't know what or where those islands are.

"He also knew of the stories of Captain Kidd"

Captain Kidd again?

See Mark Ashurst-McGee, "Moroni as Angel and as Treasure Guardian," FARMS Review: Vol. 18, Issue-1 (2006)

Larry E. Morris, "'I Should Have an Eye Single to the Glory of God': Joseph Smith's Account of the Angel and the Plates," FARMS Review: Vo. 17, Issue-1 (2005)

We shouldn't forget that Lucy Mack Smith said that Joseph wasn't prone to books.

Walker said...

What is odd is that these individuals will point to Comoros Islands as some kind of evidence, yet ignore NHM (right time, right place, right name) or Alma (as a masculine Semitic name, unknown to Joseph Smith).

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

A few responses:

"It's funny when LDS say "there is no evidence for that." There is also no evidence that the golden plates really existed, except for maybe the claims of a bunch of people who were either related to Joseph Smith or were close friends with him - at the time (interesting that they later turned on him and recanted)."

Wrong. No one EVER recanted. PERIOD. Prove the supposed "recanting".

Sorry, you have 11 eye witnesses, many who left the Church, who still never denied the existence of the plates. By contrast we have four (4) witnesses whose testimony has survived about the resurrection of Christ: Matthew, John, Peter and Paul. Mark, Luke, James and Jude do not state they are eyewitnesses, though it is possible James and Jude were eyewitnesses. So...throwing them into the mix, you have 6 eyewitnesses vs. 12 for the BoM. Hmmm. And since several of those witnesses left the Church, their testimony is enhanced by what we know.

Next,

"Unbelievable! Bob, they are giving you the facts. You are just choosing to ignore them."

No, they provided assertions not based on facts. Without one scrap of factual evidence, they assert JS obtained info foundational to the BoM development, and then acknowledged there is no way to prove their assertions, but we should believe them because they have shown to have such a loose grasps of the facts, they are more believable than actual students of LDS history.

OK, I hope that is not how you buy a house or a car. I can advise you it is a poor way to choose friends or a religion.

Next:
Nathan wrote:
"The eastern states, and Canada, during this time period were teeming with Irish immigrants (William Law being one of them although he didn't join the LDS until later). It's highly likely that Joseph Smith and his buddies had access to the material through the Irish people they knew. This can't be proven but it is very probable."

Some points can be easily proven FALSE about this assertion. William Law, for example, left the Church and was, to say the least, extremely negative. Had he heard of Moroni and Comoros, he would have probably included it in the Nauvoo Expositor, which he did not. Instead, his family was typical of Irish immigrants: poor and lacking in higher education. Even if EVERYONE in academia was talking about the nearly unreadably small text about a very small island which is virtually unmentioned, according to Huggin's own writings, you still are talking about a demographic of people who probably did not ever know the book existed, let alone had ever discussed it. And as you note, you cannot even cite an individual who could provenance the possibility of such information being given to Joseph Smith.

What you have is an obscure, unmentioned and unknown resource with no visible or even proposed connection to JS which is not even consistent with the spelling in the printer's text, and is very different from the original manuscript, which has it like it is in all editions of the BoM since the 2nd edition.

To say the least, for me this is simply grasping at straws simply because you have decided it must be so because you find so many other things to be outside your belief comfort zone. As Walker pointed out, the information restored by Joseph Smith for me as a believer is so much more compelling that I find this reach to lacking in facts to be intellectually satisfying, let alone to stand as evidence adequate to explain away the names found in the BoM.

I think you would be better off to say Moroni was JS way of mocking the intelligence of people than this tortured line of unprovable assertion. Of course, 'moron' did not come into the English language until 1910, so we would have to assume JS knew Greek as a 18 year old and grabbed an unused phrase from Greek which would later become common in English to mean stupid. Truly a prophet.

Enjoy the comments.
Bob

David said...

"I mean, if that were the case, I'm sure there were French immigrants in the Eastern USA at the time of Joseph Smith, so maybe that's how he was able to design or read Egyptian symbols, because the French knew about the Rosetta Stone, which was discovered in 1799."

Problem is that he wasn't able to read Egyptian. His "translation" of the papyri was totally wrong. Nice try though.

Anonymous said...

"This is just one more reason why I don't take you people seriously."

And I'm sure they don't take you seriously either Walker.

David said...

"This is just one more reason why I don't take you people seriously."

But you still keep responding to us don't ya?


"But to assert that Joseph Smith used it as the basis for Cumorah and Moroni with degree of certainty is absolutely fallacious."

Sorry Walker but the coincidence of the two names being in one location and also being in the BoM, and directly related to each other (Moroni being the angel who showed him were the plates were on Hill Cumorah), in addition to all the other facts, is beyond coincidence. Fallacious? No. certain? Yes.


"Captain Kidd again?"

Read up on the stories of Captain Kidd.


"Yeah, John Sorenson (who really mapped out the Central American location) really dug himself deep. So deep that he was recently asked to publish his findings on ancient Near Eastern and Mesoamerican connections by the University of Pennsylvania's Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. It is entitled "A Complex of Ritual and Ideology Shared by Mesoamerica and the Ancient Near East," Sino-Platonic Papers, No. 195 (Dec. 2009)."

He may have written a article and found some interesting parallels, but as far as proving the BoM is a true story, or overcoming the logical problems and inconsistencies within the whole Mormon story itself, LDS apologists are still making the situation worse for themselves. Like Nathan said, they are dealing with a problem that can't be fixed no matter how many articles they publish or how much research they do. The rest of the world is always going to see the BoM as being a fictional story and that's the fact. The reason - because it is. I agree with Nathan when he says that the church just needs to come out and admit that. It will save the LDS a lot of pain and heartache in the end.


"The monolatrous religion Joseph Smith introduced fits rather nicely with early Israelite theology according to modern biblical scholarship."

Unfortunately, Walker, modern biblical scholarship has nothing to do with Joseph Smith's theology. The Mormon belief system is more closely related (meaning that there are more parallels) to Islam than Israel.



"Alma (as a masculine Semitic name, unknown to Joseph Smith)."

You will want to look up the etymology of Alma. It has many origins. Here, this may help you:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Alma

David said...

"I love too how they attack Bob for not answering any questions, and then when he does (concerning the changes in the BofM) they seem to forget what was said about the changes in the Bible, the only book needed to draw closer to God, and don't have much to say concerning it."

I don't think any of us were talking about the Bible, were we? We were talking about the Book of Mormon. It is interesting, whenever the BoM is attacked, one the first tactics a Mormon will use is attacking the Bible. You have to keep in mind that there are those commenters (non-LDS) on this blog who don't believe in any of this stuff, not even the Bible, so you can't assume they are all Christian. One thing I can say is that they are all united in their view of the Mormon church.

JD said...

"David: I don't think any of us were talking about the Bible, were we? We were talking about the Book of Mormon. It is interesting, whenever the BoM is attacked, one the first tactics a Mormon will use is attacking the Bible. You have to keep in mind that there are those commenters (non-LDS) on this blog who don't believe in any of this stuff, not even the Bible, so you can't assume they are all Christian. One thing I can say is that they are all united in their view of the Mormon church."

Too true! This seems to be one of their best lines of defense - attacking the Bible. Furthermore, you cannot compare the Bible with the BoM because the Bible is a compilation of writings from ancient apostles and prophets. It's not a book that was supposedly found and supposedly "translated" from ancient reformed Egyptian, whatever that is (as if Egyptian has anything to do with Hebrew). If there are different versions of the Bible that generally say the same thing, then that is understandable. But, a book that was supposed to have been translated character by character by the gift and power of God, should not be changed ever, because, supposedly, that is the way God laid it out for humankind. The fact that the BoM has been changed thousands of times (and in some of those, there were major changes) is the church's way of silently admitting that Joseph Smith was not translating a book given to him by an angel but rather was dictating a story that he had made up. If you analyze the changes made, it is clear that the church was attempting to clear either embarrassing and/or racist phrases (white and delightsome to pure and delightsome for example), or to clear contradiction between the BoM and the D&C.

It's funny. The LDS always seem to follow the same pattern of argumentation. First they will try arguing through logic and reasoning, and maybe cite a few LDS sources such as FARMS or FAIR. Occasionally, they will cite an article written or supported by a non-LDS source that really doesn't have anything to do with proving the BoM true. Then when all their reasoning and logic fails them, they will attack the Bible and when that fails, they say, "Well, we KNOW that the BoM is true because we have a witness of it by the Holy Ghost and that trumps everything, even the most logical argument or the most valid piece of scientific evidence."

Yes, I hear that a lot from Mormons - their witness and their testimony. Well, guess what! Muslims also have a witness that their religion is the true religion ... and so do Christians, and so do Jews, and so to Buddhists, and so do Arabs, and so do Indians and on and on. Wow! Isn't that amazing??? All of these people have a witness that their religion is the one and only true religion and that only they know the Truth. The only people that I can really agree with are the Hindus because they believe in the story of the five blind men and the elephant (if you don't know what that is, go read up on it). In my opinion, their religious views are very enlightened.

JD said...

""Nathan: Wow, that’s a long walk!"
Walker: It sure is. And?"

And ... I think that says it all actually.


"Bob: I think you would be better off to say Moroni was JS way of mocking the intelligence of people ..."

I think you've got it about right there. His book and his religious claims are an insult to the intelligence of anyone he tried to persuade. The fact that there were/are those who believe it, makes a strong statement about their intelligence or moreover, their gullibility.

Mark Twain, who, in my opinion, was the best literary critic of his time, had this to say about it:

"The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel — half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern — which was about every sentence or two — he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet." (In Roughing It)

even_more_anonymous said...

"I don't think any of us were talking about the Bible, were we? We were talking about the Book of Mormon. It is interesting, whenever the BoM is attacked, one the first tactics a Mormon will use is attacking the Bible."

Yet another great deflection by an Anti-Mormon. Honestly, classic, but it still didn't answer the question. Now who's the one avoiding the questions? Stop asserting that Bob is too afraid, or can't answer questions, if you're not going to either, sort of hypocritical. I'm not attacking the Bible, I just asked a simple question, one to which you wanted an answer from Bob, and he gave, all I ask for is the same respect.

Kevin said...

"William Law, for example, left the Church and was, to say the least, extremely negative."

Of course he was negative about the church! Joseph Smith tried to seduce Jane Law into being one of his many wives. At least William Law had the intelligence to know that there was something seriously wrong with this self proclaimed prophet. And he had the courage to create the Nauvoo Expositor to let everyone know what was happening right under their eyes!

Anonymous said...

"Out of the several thousand BoM changes, there are at most a small handful of changes which make any difference to the text. Maybe three or four sets of changes (white to pure, king's name changed, mother of the son of god). Everything else easily falls into textual clean-up and grammar issues, which, given the weakness of the linguistics of the translator, is very easy to accept."

Not exactly, Bob. Joseph was supposedly given the ability to translate by the gift and power of God. If God was giving him the ability to translate character by character, there shouldn't be any mistakes and there shouldn't be a need to change the text EVER. The fact is that Joseph was lying, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

"Yet another great deflection by an Anti-Mormon. Honestly, classic, but it still didn't answer the question. Now who's the one avoiding the questions? Stop asserting that Bob is too afraid, or can't answer questions, if you're not going to either, sort of hypocritical."

From what I gather, they did answer the question.

Tony said...

Reading through this has been quite hillarious, seeing as how I already answered clearly above quite a few comments back that it is simply implausible that Joseph would have used Moroni from the Comoros islands, seeing how it wouldn't have even been on a map at the time and didn't become a capital city until 1876, 32 years after Joseph's death.

And all the argument about the supposed changes (hello, imperfect scribes, textual errors can be seen in any translation, etc.) and the other hogwash has already been thoroughly gone over and rebutted by LDS apologists.

I mean come on, we even go over the textual changes here at BYU Idaho in our Book of Mormon class.

I just don't see the beef.

Tony said...

So, do any of the critics care to address my earlier points about the array of Hebraisms (hebrew evidences) in the Book of Mormon?

Or perhaps you'd like to critique Nibley's magnum opus on the Book of Abraham.

Oh wait, that's right. They can't. So it's conveniently avoided.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Not exactly, Bob. Joseph was supposedly given the ability to translate by the gift and power of God. If God was giving him the ability to translate character by character, there shouldn't be any mistakes and there shouldn't be a need to change the text EVER. The fact is that Joseph was lying, plain and simple."

By this standard, then, the Bible is a lie. Now, I am not trying to attack the Bible. I am trying to get people who make perfectly stupid statements about the BoM see how they explode in their face when applied to their system of beliefs. The New Testament alone suffers from some 400,000 or more changes and errors. Passages in the OT which are supposed to detail the exact same event, such as the age of the King at the time of his ascension to the throne, are different in two different books. Prophetic books are cited incorrectly as the source for a reference. Whole verses were lost from the traditional Hebrew OT when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. So to say JS "should" have some special power never before given for any other "God Breathed" scripture is, well, stupid. If not stupid, it is unfair, hypocritical and highly uninformed.

Anonymous, by his/her writing style does not appear to be a stupid person. But he/she is a very biased person in the selective use of sources and assumptions they are applying.

Again, I am not attacking the Bible. I am appealing for reason in application of the standards used in criticism of someone else's faith when it disagrees with your own. And using words like "should" when speaking of JS and his prophetic gifts betrays the irrational polemic underlying the judgment.

Walker said...

"But you still keep responding to us don't ya?"

I'm addicted. What can I say? I'll be bowing out for a while again, though. Had some spare time.

"Fallacious?"

Yes. It has already been shown how unlikely this is.

"certain?"

Absolutely not.

"Captain Kidd"

Read the articles I provided.

"interesting parallels"

Interesting enough to have non-LDS scholars publish it. The point of my comment was this ridiculous attack on LDS scholarship.

"logical problems and inconsistencies"

Without specifics, I can't comment.

"can't be fixed"

Well, you've already made up your mind apparently about future possibilities. I'll be sure to trust your objectivity.

"rest of the world"

Kind of like the rest of the world outside of Christianity thinks people rising from the dead is pretty ridiculous? Or the rest of the world outside theism thinks God is a retarded concept?

"that's a fact. The reason - because it is."

Well, David has spoken. It just is. Who can argue with that kind of reasoning?

"nothing to do with Joseph Smith's theology"

Really? I thought Joseph Smith taught a divine council of gods. I do recall reading a few things about that. Here are a few to get you started:

Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, 2nd ed. (Eerdmans: 2002)

Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background & the Ugaritic Texts (Oxford: 2001)

John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan (Sheffield Academic Press: 2002)

"Divine Council," Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry, & Writings (IVP: 2008)

"Council," Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, 2nd ed. (Brill Academic Publishers: 1999)

Peter Hayman, "Monotheism-A Misused Word in Jewish Studies?" Journal of Jewish Studies (Spring 1991)

Paula Fredriksen, "Gods and the One God: In Antiquity, All Monotheists were Polytheists," Bible Review (Feb. 2003)

Michael S. Heiser, "Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God," Bibliotecha Sacra (Jan.-March 2001)

That will do for now.

"etymology of Alma"

The BoM supposedly comes from Semitic origin and Alma is depicted as a Semitic name for a male within it. This was unknown in Smith's day. If anything, it would have been a Latin feminine name.

Walker said...

"I think that says it all actually"

I guess you didn't have much of a point then.

Walker said...

"It seems to me that deception is a way of life for Latter Day Saints."

What a hateful, judgmental, and bigoted thing to say.

Walker said...

"not respected in the secular world"

Nothing dealing with any kind of religious belief would be secular. Hence, the title "secular." That kind of goes without saying. I have no problem with admitting that on a secular level, supernatural implications have no place.

Does this mean I should dismiss all religious people who do any study that in some way supports their religious beliefs? Should I dismiss Gary Habermas' work on the historicity of the Gospels because I know he is an evangelical who believes in the resurrection of Christ? That would be rather absurd.

"James Arlington Bennet"

And on the same page of the source I provided is a letter written by Emma to Bennet about his "misrepresentation." She was "greatly perplexed that you should entertain the impression that the document should be a genuine production of mine." Emma denied writing the original Sun letter to both the paper and to Bennet.

Walker said...

"There is an official history taught by the church - just go church every Sunday and listen"

I do. Didn't realize there was "official history." History is history.

"tied to the church officially"

I know for a fact that the brethren fully support it.

"fail to see a lot"

When there isn't anything to see apparently.

"work of fiction"

My, you're immature.

Walker said...

"What are you trying to say here, Walker?"

Correcting my own typing error.

Walker said...

"So which is it Walker?"

Allow me to clarify: scholarship specifically pertaining to LDS theology hasn't been very well-known. Nibley didn't just publish on LDS subjects.

However, that is changing and LDS scholarship is gaining more recognition. I've listed a number of fairly recent publications by Oxford on LDS subjects. Some colleges have began adding Mormon Studies classes also.

Chad said...

continued ...

Furthermore, the lost 116 pages were a totally different story than the story in the BoM. They were a secular history that was not related to the BoM story whatsoever. It wasn’t until Oliver Cowdery showed up that the BoM story (a story that is very similar to View of the Hebrews, written by Oliver Cowdery’s minister), came into being. This isn’t the only source of the BoM. There were many sources from which Joseph and Oliver pulled. One of those was the 1769 edition of the King James Bible. They know that because the original BoM contains the same errors as that edition of the Bible.

The evidence that has been presented against the church in the past 30 years has not been kind and has caused many people to leave. I agree with Grant Palmer when he says that the answers FARMS and FAIR give to the issues with the BoM are so weak, that they cause people doubt even more and then, finally, to leave the church. Conversion rates have decreased since the 1990s and continue to do so and the church doesn’t know what to do about it.

Grant Palmer does say that, even though it is a work of fiction, the BoM is an inspired Christian book that does cause people to confront their sins to bring them to Christ.

Chad said...

“"It seems to me that deception is a way of life for Latter Day Saints."

What a hateful, judgmental, and bigoted thing to say.”


Actually it’s not, Walker. It’s the truth. Whether you know it or not, the things that you, Bob, Tony and others have been writing on this blog, regarding the beginning of the church, are lies. You will want to read Grant Palmer’s, Insider’s View to Mormon Origins. Here is an interview you can listen to where he talks about his book:

http://mormonstories.org/podcast/MormonStories-032-GrantPalmerPt3.mp3

Grant Palmer was a faithful Latter Day Saint who stumbled across some manuscripts: affidavits, court papers, journals, and other writings by Joseph and others who knew him back in the 1820s and 1830s. When he tried to tell people about Joseph translating using the seer stone in the hat, he was put on probation from his CES job in the church. When he finally published his book in the 1990s, he was excommunicated for it. This is how honest the church is. They punish those who try to publish the truth. If you go to read the church’s response, on FAIR or FARMS, to the book he published, you’ll find that it is one big ad hominem attack on Grant Palmer. They don’t really address anything he puts in the book because they can’t deny the truth and the authenticity of the manuscripts that he used.

Reading the book and listening to the interview in the link above, here are some things that you will learn:

The “witnesses” listed in the introduction to the BoM are not reliable. There were never any physical witnesses to the golden plates. No one ever saw or handled them. Martin Harris got up in the Kirtland Temple in 1838 and confessed to everyone that no one (not one of the witnesses) saw the plates. This was a time when most of those closest to Joseph left the church. This is the time he formulated his last version of the first vision in which he saw the two gods. Up until then, the story that everyone knew was that the angel Moroni had showed him where the plates were and that was how he got them. There is no mention anywhere in historical documents of the vision of the two gods prior to 1838. I think Fawn Brodie came to the same conclusion as well. Also, no one ever saw him use the plates (with the “stones” which weren’t called the Urim and the Thummim until 1832) to translate the book because there was always a sheet or a veil in between Joseph and the scribe. Also, many times the plates weren’t even there or they were supposedly covered by a cloth or in a box. Many of those closest to him say that the plates were never used. The only time anyone ever saw him “translating” was when he had his face in a hat looking at the seer stone, the same seer stone, in fact, that he used to look for treasure that he never found and was later convicted of fraud for it. He even admitted to Isaac Hale, his father in law, that he could not see anything in the stone and was making everything up during his treasure seeking. He started using the stone later on, however, to “translate” the BoM after he fired Martin Harris over the lost 116 pages. Up until then, he was claiming to be using the plates behind the sheet or veil or whatever was put up to block him from the scribe.

David said...

""It seems to me that deception is a way of life for Latter Day Saints."

What a hateful, judgmental, and bigoted thing to say."


You might want to take a look at this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zA-rZQB-xQ

David said...

""It seems to me that deception is a way of life for Latter Day Saints."

What a hateful, judgmental, and bigoted thing to say."


And take a look at these too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lsBFlcjE-8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqUXps8f27Q&feature=related


Add this with the fact that Hinckley tried to cover up the Hoffman letters, I would say that deception is the name of the game in the church and among its members.

Anonymous said...

“It seems to me that deception is a way of life for Latter Day Saints."

W0W! The gloves are off and true feelings put into words.

I feel sorry for you. This statement brings Nazi’s and the KKK to mind.

There is so much hate in the world today, it’s only a matter of time before we see Mormon’s being killed because of their Mormon faith.

Truly sad

Maddog

Chad said...

Correction:

Grant Palmer was disfellowshipped for his book, not excommunicated.

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, Walker, modern biblical scholarship has nothing to do with Joseph Smith's theology. The Mormon belief system is more closely related (meaning that there are more parallels) to Islam than Israel."

This is correct. Also, the people of the Book of Mormon were supposedly devout Jews observing the Law of Moses, but in the Book of Mormon there is almost no trace of their observance of Mosaic law or even an accurate knowledge of it.

Another interesting fact is that in 1828, eight years after he supposedly had been told by God himself to join no church, Joseph Smith applied for membership in a local Methodist church.

Since the founding of the church down to the present day the church leaders have not hesitated to lie, to falsify documents, to rewrite or suppress history, or to do whatever is necessary to protect the image of the church. Many Mormon historians have been excommunicated from the church for publishing their findings on the truth of Mormon history. Examples are Michael D. Quinn and Grant Palmer.

Trying to determine the truth by relying entirely on the feelings one gets after praying is not a reliable way to learn the truth. One can easily deceive oneself into "feeling" something that is really not true at all. The only reliable way to get to the truth is to examine verifiable facts.

even_more_anonymous said...

"Yet another great deflection by an Anti-Mormon. Honestly, classic, but it still didn't answer the question. Now who's the one avoiding the questions? Stop asserting that Bob is too afraid, or can't answer questions, if you're not going to either, sort of hypocritical."

From what I gather, they did answer the question.

Anonymous, I challenge you to look back at all that was posted and see if there is any answer given to support why all the Bible translations and changes. Antis are very humurous, and I never realised it until I found this blog. Whenever they can't answer a question, they attack Mormons for being "like this" or "like that", and totally avoid the question posed.

Oh, and JD, since you enjoy Mark Twain so much, because, after all, you think he's the best literary critic of all time (although one google search to find one quote isn't really enough to know a man) here's a quote from him as well:

"If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be--a Christian."
- Mark Twain's Notebook

Considering Mormons aren't Christians, I guess that gives us a leg up. Or how about what he said concerning the Bible. Afterall, you did quote what he said concerning the BofM, let's see how that relates to what he said concerning the Bible (being the greatest literary critic of all time, right JD?):

"It [the Bible] is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies."
- Letters from the Earth

Wow, so does that mean we disregard what he said about the Bible, but accept what he said about the BofM? C'mon JD, study up on someone before you quote them.

JD said...

"Oh, and JD, since you enjoy Mark Twain so much, because, after all, you think he's the best literary critic of all time (although one google search to find one quote isn't really enough to know a man) here's a quote from him as well:

"If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be--a Christian."
- Mark Twain's Notebook

Considering Mormons aren't Christians, I guess that gives us a leg up. Or how about what he said concerning the Bible. Afterall, you did quote what he said concerning the BofM, let's see how that relates to what he said concerning the Bible (being the greatest literary critic of all time, right JD?):

"It [the Bible] is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies."
- Letters from the Earth"


I have no problem with this. I never claimed to be a Christian. I simply said that you cannot compare the Bible with the BoM because they are two completely different books that were created differently. And yes, Mark Twain was the best literary critic of his time.

Here is another quote I like, not from Mark Twain, but from Ghandi:

"Jesus Christ I like. His followers, I'm not so sure about."

Tony said...

Ah, parroting the old Anti-Mormon filth that has long been refuted. Even bringing up the fallacious argument that JS joined the methodist faith (actually, he was simply in a debate group that met at a Methodist church).

Same old, same old. I mean come on, Fawn Brodie?

Chad said...

"Ah, parroting the old Anti-Mormon filth that has long been refuted."

Tony, if you are referring to Grant Palmer's book, you should probably know that Grant Palmer is not anti-mormon. He is still an active LDS, although disfellowshipped. Also, his book was never refuted. It can't be. It draws directly from church historical documents. It is also sold in the BYU bookstore and is used as a textbook by the RLDS.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Palmer's work has, in fact, been thoroughly refuted, at least as concerning his major assertions. FARMS devoted several studies to this. You can find them nicely summarized on the FAIR website here:

http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/Summary_of_Five_Reviews_of_Grant_Palmer.html

Or you can see the individual reviews at FARMS here:

Vol 15, Issue 2 for four reviews, and Vol 16, Issue 1 for an additional review.

Simply stated, aside from a very selective use of sources to mold a non-historical depiction of JS, his use of ETA Hoffman's "The Golden Pot" as an explanation for the genesis of Mormonism is beyond laughable. Even Shawn McCraney noted on his show that assertion is weak. That is not true. It is laughable, were it not for the fact he believes it. To think that as a pre-teen young man JS heard the story and then patterned his entire life's course on the concepts of the book is, well, nonsense.

I own a copy of Palmer's book. I have a lot of notes in the margins. But what I found most interesting is how he weaves a completely new story from the history provided by others. It is not that he misquotes or challenges stories. He simply ignores the facts he does not agree with, and then, without context, draws conclusions from a limited set of facts, then tries to pound them into the fabric of history. Unless you have direct evidence someone is lying and the alternate theory fits the facts better, suggesting alternate theories which contradict the statements of multiple witnesses and the key figure, JS, is not evidence. It is just argumentation. The example of following the story of the Golden Pot to pull off a con on friends and family, while watching those people suffer and die, in light of the statements of witnesses and JS is such an example. Palmer simply asserts a fable with selective evidence. He fabricates and inflates his own credentials to try to bolster his credibility. If we, as believing LDS, did the same thing, you would laugh us to shame. But because Palmer attacks the foundations of the LDS faith, you embrace him.

That's why standards and veracity in polemical discourse is so hard to come by. That's also why the fact that four of the five reviews published by FARMS are particularly meaningful, as they were written by nationally renowned LDS historians with copious notes and citations. Give scholarship a whirl. It may surprise you how smart some of those dang Mormons are.

Also, I won't post any negative assessments of the FARMS literature UNLESS you provide specific examples where their scholarship violates accepted scholarly techniques in the five reviews. It is a shame I have to stipulate this, but since so many critics of the LDS Church, such as Shawn McCraney, criticize FARMS research and then acknowledge they never read it, I want to be sure the responses are not just raw bigotry because it is in an LDS publication.

Thanks for adhering to this not particularly difficult guideline in advance.
Bob

Walker said...

"The only reliable way to get to the truth is to examine verifiable facts."

Then I suggest you actually look at facts. You deny that modern biblical scholarship does not fit with Smith's divine council, which demonstrates that you don't read modern biblical scholarship. I just provided several sources to get you started on the subject. You caricature revelation to be emotionalism, which it is not.

I wonder if the resurrection of Jesus stands up to the kind of factual verification you require of my religious beliefs. The last time I checked, we only have a handful of witnesses, most of which are portrayed second hand.

Adrian said...

A little side-note for those engaged in the apparently side-debate about the changes in the BoM and the Bible. If you go back throughout this blog, you'll notice, according to Bob's assertions, that the changes in the Bible have somehow sky-rocketed from 100,000 alterations to 400,000 alterations. By the way this is not an attack on Bob's character (i.e. this does not mean he is a liar) he is simply going with the authorities that side with his position which is something we all do.

Now for Walker and his apparent cry for scholarship. The problem with holding up scholars as being the final authority on a subject is inherently dangerous. The reason why is simple; scholars of great caliber disagree with each other. You hold up your LDS scholars as being authoritative, when there is just as many, if not more scholars who say that no God/god exists. You are simply being selective. Another example is your take on the divine council and the supposed advances in modern scholarship that are favorable to the LDS position. You listed a few which is fine, but what about the thousands of intellectuals who disagree with you from before the time of Christ to now?

Also, the resurrection of Jesus does stand up to the kind of factual verification that is being discussed. I will admit that a vast multitude is not named in the gospel (the only ones I know are the Eleven and two of the three Marys). However, we see that there are more not only outside of the four gospels like 1 Corinthians, but also in church history. The exponential growth of the church despite the horrific slaughter of even its earliest followers demonstrates the appearance of something unique.

I also have a question for you LDS. If your faith is a restoration (i.e. the bringing back of what was lost) of true Christianity, then why do you have temples? As far as I know, there has never been any temple construction by Christianity and hardly any in Judaism.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thanks for commenting Adrian. Just an FYI on the choosing of numbers which I used. The largest number I can cite as accepted by both supporters and critics of Bible textual changes is 400,000+. I have heard numbers cited by some critics as large as 1-million. I cited 100,000+ because it is a very large number, includes any number larger, and still dwarfs the number of changes usually ascribed to the Book of Mormon.

However, Royal Skousen commented in a lecture that if you were to actually measure each spelling change in the various editions, comma, grammar correction, etc., there are probably 100,000 changes in the Book of Mormon. I have quoted that number, and even have it in a brochure. But that is when you are forced to compare it to the 1-million changes in the New Testament, if you want to make an apples to apples comparison.

Not that Walker needs any defending, but I think his consistent point is more along the lines of "live by the sword, die by the sword". He comments regularly that many scholars are atheistic in their world view, yet we often see scholars used as clubs against the LDS. On the other hand, our critics like to deny the validity of the spiritual experiences of LDS Christians.

I don't believe there is any tangible proof for the resurrection. We have statements by folks who assert the resurrection, but that is no better, in terms of proof, than statements by Mohammed about the angel giving him the Koran. Critics deny the value of statements in the Gospels and elsewhere in the Bible. Christians accept them, usually rather uncritically.

I say this because, as I have written about at length, the only way to know Jesus Christ is via the Spirit. If there was anything approaching "proof" of the resurrection, scientists, philosophers and skeptics would all be Christians.

Speed of growth of a denomination as support of truth claims would variously place Islam, Mormons, Jehovah's witnesses and other groups as the demonstrably "true" religious philosophy.

My position is that we have two approaches to discovering truth claims. First, I believe discussion of truth claims is useful to some degree, but is very much secondary. That is because debate is useless, but sincere questioning leads to humility and prompting to personal spiritual enlightenment via the Holy Spirit, which is the 2nd point.

If you want to know what is true, I suggest that adversarial conversation, such as between Jesus and the apostate Jewish community of his environment, yielded almost no converts. It was when intellectual curiosity turned to genuine concern that the Spirit was able to touch them.

Lastly, the Christians camped at the temple throughout the apostolic period (Acts 2:46). I wrote an extended commentary and analysis of this a while back. Paul himself continued to worship in Jerusalem temple up until probably around 60 AD or so. It was because of his temple worship he was arrested and eventually went before the emperor (Acts 21:17-29,33; 25:8,11).

Temples appear inherent in End Times events, as that is one of the things the future Anti-Christ (2 Thes 2:4) occupies, and ministering in the temple is at least part of the role of the priesthood, which is something Christ has delivered to his followers (Rev 1:6). In fact, this is the Melchizedek priesthood.

Thanks for the comments. Keep reading.
Bob

Walker said...

"You hold up your LDS scholars as being authoritative"

Forgive me if I come off that way, seeing that it is not my intention. I am simply pointing out that the claim "there is no evidence for [insert Mormon-related point here]" is often oversimplistic, if not completely false. LDS scholarship is respected and must be dealt with by anyone critical of the Church. It cannot be brushed aside with non-arguments like "FARMS is dumb."

"what about the thousands of intellectuals who disagree with you from before the time of Christ to now?"

Many of the sources I've listed deal with those exact things. Not to mention that the Ugaritic texts (which has revolutionized our understanding of the Hebrew Bible and Hebrew in general) were only recently discovered in 1928.

"the resurrection of Jesus does stand up to the kind of factual verification"

While I agree that there are good reasons for trusting the Gospel accounts (Gary Habermas, N.T. Wright, Richard Bauckham, etc. have done some excellent research in this department), it is largely based on trusting the witnesses or not. What I find odd is that many Christians trust it uncritically, but dismiss the witnesses of the gold plates. For an excellent review of the witnesses' lives and testimonies, see Richard Lloyd Anderson, 'Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses' (Deseret Book: 1981).

"The exponential growth"

If you find this convincing, then you will be interested in the fact that sociologist Rodney Stark uses the LDS Church as a model for understanding Christianity's growth in his book 'The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History' (Princeton: 1996). Another excellent publication of his on the subject is "Modernization and Mormon Growth: The Secularization Thesis Revisted," Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives (University of Illinois: 2001)

"then why do you have temples?"

The temple was the center of ancient Israel (many ancient cultures to be exact). The temple archetype itself is inseparable from creation. It is the "cosmic mountain" that not only intersects heaven, earth, and the underworld, but "is also the earth's navel, the point at which Creation began...The universe is conceived as spreading from a central point." (Mircea Eliade, Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return, 2nd Paperback ed., Princeton University Press: 2005) As for its connection with Christianity, I strongly suggest reading Margaret Barker, 'The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy' (T&T Clark: 2003).

Walker said...

A good article to go along with Bob's comments on the temple is the following:

S. Kent Brown, "The Temple in Luke and Acts," Revelation, Reason, and Faith: Essays in Honor of Truman G. Madsen (FARMS: 2002)

even_more_anonymous said...

"Jesus Christ I like. His followers, I'm not so sure about."

Just curious JD, where does that put you, even saying you don't claim to be Christian? Honestly, just curious to where you stand, as it is better to know those with whom you discuss, that way a basis of belief is possible for points of discussion. If you do read this and answer, thank you JD.

Jake said...

Outside of LDS circles, FARMS and FAIR have no credibility because of two things:

First, FARMS and FAIR write articles intended not to be scholarly, but to reassure the believers so it does not use the peer review process. This is the overwhelmingly accepted academic practice of having anonymous peer academics review your articles and reviews of books before they are accepted for publication. This ensures that scholarship is adequate with painstaking and repeatable research, sound sources, and logical conclusions.

Second, with some exceptions, the scholarship of FARMS and FAIR articles is substandard and not acceptable by other non LDS academics. Most FARMS and FAIR articles and reviews employ extensively personal attacks (ad hominem, one of the most pernicious logical fallacies); out-of-context quotations; illogical, unsupportable, and circular conclusions; and judge scholarly conclusions on the basis of conformity to LDS doctrine rather than as supported by the evidence and logic.

Also, with regard to support of the BoM, FARMS and FAIR articles jump to egregiously unwarranted conclusions. For example, the BoM says Lehi's group passed through a valley with a river and trees on its way through the middle eastern deserts to the ocean. Researchers have found several valleys with rivers and trees in the Arabian Peninsula so, concludes FARMS, this proves the BoM beyond a shadow of a doubt.

As far as I can tell, some of the FARMS and FAIR scholars have published scholarly works in peer-reviewed publications, but not one of them as been in defense of the LDS faith. I suspect that they know the typical FARMS or FAIR article submitted to a peer review publication would be rejected and make them the laughing stock of their profession and kill their careers

BDR said...

This is from a Salt Lake Tribune article Sep. 1st, 2005 quoting Merrill Bateman, a Mormon Seventy

“…He agreed the LDS Church's worldwide membership, reported at 12 million, includes many who no longer consider themselves Mormon, but he disagreed with researchers who estimated active Mormons equal only 4 million.

Bateman said that number doesn't count those in undeveloped countries who find it difficult to attend sacrament meetings. ‘So you might have in the neighborhood of . . . 4 [million] and 5 million members attending church at any given time, but those who are active would be more than that.’ " end quote

That number of individuals who are unable to attend meetings is by no means 7-8 million people. There are not that many members in undeveloped countries. (5+7=12 million) This is finally an official acknowledgment that the Mormon church is, and has been, dishonest in claiming 12 million members.

This is from an article Sep. 1st, 2005. Source: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_2991263


In the United States, Mormons are departing from the faith as fast as fast as converts are joining. Converts rarely remain active in the Mormon Church.

This is from an article July 8th, 2005. Source: http://news.yahoo.com

Excerpt: ‘The problem originates in the faith's tradition of rapid conversion of investigators to the church according to David Stewart, a church member and researcher who has studied the problem of member retention in the church.

Stewart, who has studied the question for over 14 years, said that such quick conversions are a "recipe for inactivity."

"I'm encouraged that there is a little bit of awareness of the problem," he said.

The American Religious Identification Survey of 2001 the Graduate Center of City University of New York said in a report that the same number of people had left the Mormon church in the United States as had joined it.’


Keeping members a challenge for LDS church
Mormon myth: The belief that the church is the fastest-growing faith in the world doesn't hold up

This is from the Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com July 26, 2005

Excerpt: The claim that Mormonism is the fastest-growing faith in the world has been repeated so routinely by sociologists, anthropologists, journalists and proud Latter-day Saints as to be perceived as unassailable fact. The trouble is, it isn't true…


But since 1990, other faiths - Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal groups - have grown much faster and in more places around the globe…


…the Seventh-day Adventist Church reports it has added more than 900,000 adult converts each year since 2000 [compared to the Mormon Church’s conversion of only 241,239 in 2004] (an average growth of about 5 percent), bringing the total membership to 14.3 million. The Assemblies of God now claims more than 50 million members worldwide, adding 10,000 new members every day.’

Bob said...

Not quite sure what BDR finds interesting about the statistics. I know some folks feel growth rates is some measure of the truth or falseness of a religion. I don't. I find the need to reach out to everyone the measure of truth.

See, many faiths, especially those who teach "once saved, always saved" show they don't really care about the temporal salvation of folks by not helping their membership. Better to save the unsaved, then to help members of their faith or do some form of "home teaching". The act of promoting genealogy has caused families inside and outside the Church to grow closer. Maybe you have seen the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" No LDS there, but a remarkable, deep sense of connection to their extended family members through searching out their roots.

I personally feel it is a huge disservice to baptize folks who don't understand what they are getting into. Thus we see that virtually all of the supposed growth among the "Born Again" communities is completely undone by the non-committal attitudes of their 'converts'. So also in the LDS Church, I think teaching the doctrines of Christ and experiencing a change and commitment to Christ is the best approach. But unlike the "born again" approach of losing and forgetting those who stop attending, at least the LDS Church tries to continue to reach out throughout the life of its membership to invite them to come unto Christ.

Statistics show that about 90% of Americans claim membership in some Christian tradition. However, less than 50% attend church regularly. Pew Research shows that less than 1/4 of all believers view their faith is the only road to salvation, 70% feel there are many ways to salvation. Even among Evangelicals, 57% feel there are many ways to salvation. Only 36% of Evangelicals believe theirs is the only way.

So, despite attempts to construe the reports of LDS leaders as being misleading, impartial PEW Research shows the LDS statements consistent with those statements. The LDS Church leadership acknowledges freely the need to stay focused on retaining and activating, and most importantly converting, even the existing membership who are weak in the faith.

Bob said...

Nick,
I am trying to be charitable today (this too may pass), so I will refrain from making too many snippy comments.

So let's examine the charge of LDS Scholarship in FARMS and FAIR being substandard or rejected by non-LDS scholars.

The approaches are different between FARMS and FAIR. FARMS has many highly credentialed scholars. Just look at the "About the Contributors" section of the most recent FARMS Review http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=21&num=2&id=781
Richard L. Anderson (PhD, University of California, Berkeley; JD, Harvard Law School)
Brant A. Gardner received an MS in anthropology from the State University of New York, Albany, specializing in Mesoamerican ethnohistory.
William J. Hamblin (PhD, University of Michigan)
Grant Hardy is a professor of history and religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. A graduate of Brigham Young University with a doctorate from Yale,he has written books and articles on early Chinese history and is the coeditor of the first volume of the Oxford History of Historical Writing (forthcoming).
Louis Midgley, who earned his PhD at Brown University
George L. Mitton, completed graduate studies at Utah State University and Columbia University,
Daniel C. Peterson earned a PhD in Near Eastern languages and cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Stephen D. Ricks (PhD, University of California, Berkeley, and Graduate Theological Union) is professor of Hebrew and cognate learning in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University.
Matthew Roper (MA, Brigham Young University)
John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School,

Yes, lightweights all. Did you fail to note that there are more LDS scholars on the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication committee than any denomination except Jews? Did you mention the broad respect among non-LDS scholars for the work of LDS scholars? Yes, you failed to note that.
(Continued below)

Bob said...

Now FAIR is a little different. Since many of the subjects it addresses is done by committees or individual researchers to answer specific questions posed by non-scholar questioners, the emphasis has never been on impressing by initials. That being said, the work found in the FAIR Wiki or the topical guide of articles is still incredibly impressive. In fact, I would challenge anyone to find positions being taken which have been broadly discredited by non-LDS scholars. The theories about the location of Book of Mormon activities, for example, do not draw on supposed archaeological research to support it, but rather acknowledge the current state of research, and proffer theories which could still fit within the established historical facts.

My experience is that because most critics of the LDS faith are not just unscholarly, such as Bill McKeever, but are manifestly unqualified to evaluate highly technical information, they fail to understand the implications for their own flavor of Christianity from their statements. For example, the noise made about DNA and the Book of Mormon is interesting because of what it does to 'Young Earth' advocates among the groups attacking the Mormons. The same DNA evidence destroys a young Earth position. And archeological evidence provides no support whatsoever for early Biblical history.

As a Mormon I don't find any of the supposed evidence disconcerting, either against the LDS faith or the Bible. But FAIR responds to critics with wonderfully documented answers so that if someone really did think they were fudging on the evidence, the links are right there to argue with, and see what goes into the decision. As a result, attacks on subjects such as polygamy, early LDS history or LDS doctrine, which are not necessarily topics requiring academic credentials to adequately understand, research or explain, can be exhaustively studied by the non-specialist.

Jake's position is very similar to the Catholic Church's position on non-priestly reading of non-Latin Bibles in the middle ages. He would have you believe that simply because he thinks their positions are outside of his beliefs, they must be false. Thank goodness Wycliff, Luther and others didn't listen to Jake's line or reasoning.

Thanks for the comments.
Bob

Walker said...

"First, FARMS and FAIR write articles intended not to be scholarly, but to reassure the believers so it does not use the peer review process."

1. As Bob said, FARMS and FAIR are different. Anyone who equates them is not familiar enough with them.

2. "Intended not to be scholarly"? Bob's list of contributors should put that to rest, not to mention non-LDS scholars such as Michael Heiser and Margaret Barker that have contributed.

3. To say FARMS "does not use the peer review process" is a complete lie.

Nick said...

"And take a look at these too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lsBFlcjE-8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqUXps8f27Q&feature=related


Add this with the fact that Hinckley tried to cover up the Hoffman letters, I would say that deception is the name of the game in the church and among its members."


Yes, very true. I liked the Bob Millet video. I believe they call that "milk before meat." A very subtle way of renaming deception. The other video they call "lying for the Lord." Lying is even condoned in their scripture where God commands Abraham to lie:

BoA 2:22-25
22 And it came to pass when I was come near to enter into Egypt, the Lord said unto me: Behold, Sarai, thy wife, is a very fair woman to look upon;
23 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see her, they will say—She is his wife; and they will kill you, but they will save her alive; therefore see that ye do on this wise:
24 Let her say unto the Egyptians, she is thy sister, and thy soul shall live.
25 And it came to pass that I, Abraham, told Sarai, my wife, all that the Lord had said unto me—Therefore say unto them, I pray thee, thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and my soul shall live because of thee.

Nick said...

"First, FARMS and FAIR write articles intended not to be scholarly, but to reassure the believers so it does not use the peer review process.

'As Bob said, FARMS and FAIR are different. '"

Right so basically you are admitting here Bob that FARMS/FAIR were not established to search for truth through logical reasoning and discourse but instead have the sole purpose to present anything they can to members in a desperate attempt to keep their fragile testimonies from crumbling. Hmmm ...

Nick said...

"I also have a question for you LDS. If your faith is a restoration (i.e. the bringing back of what was lost) of true Christianity, then why do you have temples? As far as I know, there has never been any temple construction by Christianity and hardly any in Judaism."

This is exactly right. There is only one Jewish temple, the Holy Temple. Anyone who studies Israelite history will know that the Holy Temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem, since the days of Solomon, was built to replace the Tabernacle that the Israelites carried with them while they wandered in search of the Promised Land. The Tabernacle was a portable dwelling place for the 'divine presence' since the time of Exodus. The inner shrine, Kodesh Hakodashim, held the Ark of the Covenant. Later after they arrived in the Promised Land, God commanded them to build the Holy Temple on mount Moriah:

"And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in [any] house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle"..."And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever." (2 Samuel 7:4-6, 12-13).

Later on the first temple was destroyed and the second temple was built in the time of Herod (~20 B.C.). The Holy Temple was a place of prayer and animal sacrifices to atone for their sins (kippur). It had nothing to do with the masonic ceremonies performed in the Mormon temples. The second temple was destroyed (in 70 A.D.) with the coming of Christ and the events surrounding his life, death, and resurrection. When Christ died on the cross, the temple veil was rent in two and later the whole temple was destroyed as Christ had prophesied. For Christians, the temple is no longer necessary. This is the New Covenant and the message of the New Testament.

Nick said...

In the Bible God made covenants with people regarding salvation. The Old Testament covenant revolved around salvation through the Laws of Moses. The New Testament covenant promises salvation through belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. Both covenants gave us the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins. Understanding the covenants gives us a better understanding of God and the sacrifice made for us by Christ.

One of God’s first covenants with people was given to Noah. God re-established the earth with Noah and promised never again to destroy it with a flood. “And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11) Noah’s Ark was an early foreshadowing of the plan of salvation that God had in store for us with Jesus Christ. Those that took refuge in the Ark were saved, just as those of us who take refuge in Christ are saved.

God’s covenant with Abraham established His people. “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be.” (Genesis 15:5) Because of his faith, Abraham was made the father of the nation of Israel. God promised, through Abraham, a homeland for His people: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:8)

At Sinai, God established His covenant with His people through Moses. “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6) God presented Moses with the Law and promised His people salvation through the faithful keeping of the Law. “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Though the Law was a path to salvation, it was also a curse and a burden. Continual sacrifices had to be made to wash away sin and stringent standards of living must be obeyed to remain clean. Later, the covenant of Christ would free us from the curse of the Law because Christ made Himself the final and perfect sacrifice.

Nick said...

Jesus ministry is superior to the ministry of the Law because His sacrifice ended the need for blood sacrifice and established the New Covenant of salvation through faith in Him. “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6) Only the sacrifice of Christ could have completed the Law: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14) Christ gave Himself perfect, without sin, to free us from the death penalty of sin. By His perfect sacrifice we are set free.

Since the beginning of time, God has wanted to have a relationship with us and has provided us with a way of communing with Him. After the fall from grace, sin entered the world and separated us from God, but in His mercy He has provided us with opportunities for restoration. Through Noah, Abraham, Moses and David, God established His Old Covenant of salvation. Through Christ, He perfected His covenant with us and inscribed it on our hearts with the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. He taught us to appreciate sacrifice with the Old Covenant and provided us with the perfect sacrifice with Christ. His covenants are kept and we, through His grace, are saved by them.

So we need to wary of faiths like the Mormon religion. This is why the Bible warns us of ‘false Christs’ and ‘false prophets’. Paul says that if anyone brings you any other gospel, ‘let him be accursed.’ The Mormon gospel (and its temple worship) is another gospel. Beautiful as they are, Mormon temples have nothing to do with Christianity. What Joseph Smith did was to bring back the ways of the Old Testament and the “Law” – the rules that ‘must be followed’ for salvation. He attempted to bring back the very thing from which Christ freed us 2000 years ago. Joseph Smith even had the audacity to call his gospel the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord have pity on his soul.

Nick said...

God’s true plan of salvation is beautifully related throughout the whole Bible which was written by inspired men through the ages. This fact alone is a miracle. Through Noah, God promised life, through Abraham, God established a people and a homeland, through Moses, He promised salvation and then with David, God promised the coming Messiah. “Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.” (2 Chronicles 21:7)

The New Covenant establishes the Law in our hearts. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) Because of the sacrifice of Christ, no other sacrifice must be made. We must only believe in His saving sacrifice and internalize the Law by allowing the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.

The New Covenant fulfills the Old Covenants made with Abraham, Moses, and David: “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;” (Luke 1:72) “And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” (Luke 1:69)

The new promise is fulfilled in the Messiah. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1) It was put into effect by Jesus’ death. “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15) And it was sealed with Christ’s blood. “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20)

God’s New Covenant with His people is superior to the old because it offers complete forgiveness. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) Jesus’ final sacrifice offers us freedom from the law “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us:” (Galatians 3:13a)

Nick said...

"Temples appear inherent in End Times events, as that is one of the things the future Anti-Christ (2 Thes 2:4) occupies ..."

2 Thes 2:1-4
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

"shewing himself that he is God"

Hmmm, this sounds alot like:

"In March 1844, Smith organized a secret Council of Fifty, a policy-making body based on what Smith called "Theodemocracy"[57] and which was in effect a shadow government.[58] One of the Council's first acts was to ordain Smith as King of the Kingdom of God." ~Wikipedia

"Here then is eternal life - to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God the same as all Gods have done before you" ~Joseph Smith (JOD 6:4; TPJS p.346).

"The temple lifts us. It exalts us. It stands as a beacon for all to see and points us to celestial glory." ~Thomas Monson
(watch on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x_-TQivCx8)

"The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself" (JOD 3:93).

"As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become." ~Lorenzo Snow

"As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be." (LDS Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Ch.24, p.430 - p.431, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)


Careful what you wish for ...

Anonymous said...

Wow.......this is overwhelming......recently I was given to me by mormon "elders" a copy of "Restoration" for my birthday. I turned 50....when I was 19 YEARS OLD , I"dabbled" in the Morman RELIGION , I was actually baptised...fast forward when I was twenty I moved to ND , looking in the yellow pages looking for a "church" to attend I seen LDS and then I seen REFORMED LDS, ok it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that a TRUE church would not need REFORMATION...why do I know this. Because the bible says that God is the SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY , AND TOMMORROW, so my belief is that God just wouldnt just change things up mid-stream and REFORM.
I believe in Jesus Christ and the attonement of his blood for my sins.....enough said! If there isnt a hell and a judgement then why would Jesus suffer and die for us?
Now Mormans would tell you the reason why I left the "church" is because I didnt have a testimony.....THIS IS MY TESTIMONY!
I am not brain-washed, I dont need to where fricking white garments to go to some temple somewhere....I am saved by the grace of God.....there is a HUGE difference between having a relationship with Jesus Christ and being in a religion somewhere.
From what I can tell from the post here Mormans believe in the very lie that got us all into trouble in the beginning and that is this Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD..................................... "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may be." (LDS Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Ch.24, p.430 - p.431, LDS Collectors Library '97 CD-ROM)
I just really know that it is ignorant, and very PRIDEFUL (original sin) and ARROGANT for the Morman church to THINK they have a cornerstone on Jesus Christ, it is ludicrous to me. Read your bibles folks... you dont need the pearl of great lies doctrine and coventants and book of morman to recieve salavation that is a LIE FROM THE PIT OF HELL...Joseph Smith made this religion up in 1825 that was only 186 years ago......what are you going to do with the rest of the years? What about Israel? What about the Jews? Do you even acknowledge that Jesus Christ himself is Jewish? Born a Jew, died a Jew and coming back a JEw? Jesus wasnt God in a Jew-suit. Dont you realize that Jesus Christ came for the Jews and they rejected him and NOW we Gentiles are GRAFTED IN? Mormans believe that Gentiles are people that dont except Joseph Smith..........Its fricking WHACKED!!!!!